The San Francisco 49ers came up short in the 2013 season but there were a number of players that came through in a way that many didn’t imagine. These are the players that we will call overachievers. Every year there are players that step up due to injury or being thrust into the spotlight. Let’s take a look at some of the players who did this for the 49ers.
Wilhoite was a special teams standout for the 49ers in 2012 after being a practice squad player for most of the year. Special teams was pretty much the role that many thought he would continue to have last season. However, Patrick Willis broke his hand and that allowed Wilhoite to get reps at inside linebacker during training camp. Those reps proved to be valuable during the season. Willis was unable to play in an early season game against the Houston Texans. Wilhoite was given the start and delivered in a big way. He had 13 tackles and one pass breakup in that game. This performance cemented Wilhoite as the top backup at inside linebacker and showed that when given the chance, he is capable of making plays in this defensive scheme.
Boldin may be a surprise name on this list but let’s face it, no one thought that he would put up a 1,000 yard receiving season. The season opener set the tone when Boldin had 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown. He finished with 85 receptions, 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns. This was his first 1,000 yard season since his days as an Arizona Cardinal. Boldin’s physical play and strictly business attitude rubbed off on his whole team.
Brock was a roster bubble player during training camp. His special teams value kept him on the team along with injuries to other corner backs. Brock got the start against the St. Louis Rams and made an impact right away. He had a pass breakup that resulted in an interception when he tipped a ball to Donte Whitner in to stop a Rams scoring drive. This play was the turning point in this game which was a turning point in the season for the 49ers. Brock then returned an interception for a touchdown against the Houston Texans. He showed great anticipation and a Matt Scahub pass intended for Andre Johnson. The 49ers acted promptly and signed Brock to an extension as a reward for his team leading five interceptions.
These are just three players that stood out most to me as overachievers. Eric Reid deserves a mention as he came in and solidified the safety position and was elected to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. Glenn Dorsey also played very well. He stepped up when Ian Williams was injured and did a great job of controlling the interior gaps. The 2013 season will set the tone for success in the coming season. Brock has signed a contract extension, Boldin is negotiating a multi-year deal and Wilhoite is a restricted free agent that is expected to be brought back next season.