Trent Williams spent much of the first decade of his NFL career being held back by playing for a dysfunctional organization in Washington.
After the frustration contributed to him sitting out the 2019 season, Williams’ career took off following a trade to San Francisco, where he quickly established himself as the top left tackle in football.
Williams’ performance for the 49ers the past three seasons helped him get picked as the top offensive lineman in the league by The Associated Press.
A panel of nine AP Pro Football Writers ranked the top five players on the offensive line, making their selections based on current status entering the 2023 season. First-place votes were worth 10 points. Second through fifth-place votes were worth 5, 3, 2 and 1 points.
Williams got seven of the nine first-place votes, along with one third and one fourth-place to win the voting. Philadelphia right tackle Lane Johnson got one of the other first-place votes and was the only other player picked on all nine ballots to come in second.
Dallas guard Zack Martin got the other first-place vote to come in third, and Johnson’s teammate on the Eagles, center Jason Kelce, was fourth. Cleveland guard Joel Bitonio was fifth.
Joe Thuney, Laremy Tunsil, Tristan Wirfs, Terron Armstead, Andrew Thomas and Quenton Nelson also got votes.
1. TRENT WILLIAMS, San Francisco 49ers: Williams made the Pro Bowl his final seven seasons in Washington but has taken his game to another level in San Francisco. He has earned back-to-back All-Pro honors and regularly delivers highlight-reel blocks that help fuel the Niners’ dominant run game.
2. LANE JOHNSON, Philadelphia Eagles: Johnson sets the standard on the right side of the line the way Williams does on the left. Johnson earned his first All-Pro honors in 2017 when he helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl. Johnson was an All-Pro again last season when Philadelphia made it back to the title game. He allowed no sacks last season, according to PFF.
3. ZACK MARTIN, Dallas Cowboys: Martin has been a star since earing All-Pro honors as a rookie in 2014. His has been named first or second team All-Pro in eight of his nine seasons, with his six first-team selections one shy of the record for a guard.
4. JASON KELCE, Philadelphia Eagles: The undersized Kelce has a big impact on the Eagles as the anchor on what has consistently been one of the league’s top lines. Kelce has been a first-team All-Pro in five of the last six seasons as he makes up for his sub-300-pound frame with the ability to get out in space and block.
5. JOEL BITONIO, Cleveland Browns: Bitonio has been one of the league’s most consistent blockers, earning a second-team All-Pro spot for three straight seasons from 2018-20 and first-team honors the past two seasons.