USA Football has selected San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith, and linebackers Joe Staley and NaVorro Bowman to its third annual USA Football All-Fundamentals Team, which honors 26 NFL players – 11 offense, 11 defense, four special teams – who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate.
USA Football's All-Fundamentals Team recognizes NFL players at each offensive and defensive position as well as four special teams positions. Employing proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, fosters better on-field performance and inherent safety benefits.
Smith possesses a combination of strength and exceptional technique. On the snap, he bursts off the line of scrimmage. He keeps his feet moving and extends his arms to drive blockers back far enough to reach the quarterback.
Willis, the target of many blockers, has the uncommon ability to defeat those blocks and continue toward the ball-carrier. With his technique, he is among the best at using arm extension to gain separation and disengage from would-be blockers.
Bowman consistently puts himself in great position to make plays for the 49ers. Bowman is able to avoid would-be blockers by using his hands and keeping his feet moving. With these fundamentals he is able to gain separation from offensive players and focus in on the ball-carrier to make the tackle.
USA Football, the sport's national governing body in the United States, is the official youth football development partner of the 49ers, the NFL and each of the league's other 31 teams.
Each player chosen for the All-Fundamentals Team will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice. USA Football also will present selected players with a custom-made Riddell helmet trophy.