Prospect: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern
Height: 6’1 1/4
Grade: 6.65(Grading Scale)
Brandon Williams is a thick, stout and bulky interior defensive lineman. He’s truly built like a bounder, possesses great upper body strength and thickness throughout the shoulders. With his frame, Williams is able to play with great power and leverage, profiling as a Nose Tackle at the next level. Uses his powerful upper-body to stun and jolt the opposing OL off the snap. At his level he is able to simply overpower the OC and control the space in the middle of the line. Williams shows some sudden and quicker than expected hands to keep the OL off-balance.
Besides his power, Williams can win with quickness. He carries his weight fairly well and moves surprisingly well in tight areas. He’s agile enough to maneuver his large frame through corresponding gaps to penetrate or flow down the line a little bit to chase the ball. As expected, Williams is very good at holding his ground and taking up space in the middle of the defensive line. He can anchor at the line, but shows the ability to rip off blocks at the line and makes plays on the RB in tight spaces. His sturdy build, with low center of gravity makes it tough for opposing blockers to get underneath his pads and move him off the ball.
Williams won’t offer much pass rush, but he can push the pocket by bull-rushing and overpowering blockers to collapse the pocket. He can disrupt the middle of the pocket, forcing the QB to side step or adjust his throwing lane. Effective when slanting or crossing the face of the OL. Can split the opposite gap and is extremely tough to slow down once he has a full head of steam. At the Senior Bowl, Williams impressed me with his ability to use his arms to leverage OL and keep them moving backwards on roller skates. He definitely has a poweful punch to the chest. Williams is best suited to play a zero technique (NT) or a 1-shade. In some fronts, I believe he can play 3-technique and disrupt. Williams has a great back story. He’s a tremendously hard worker off the field, not only in the weight room but at home. Works a full-time job pumping Porta Potty’s during the summer to support his family.
Biggest knock on Williams will be his level of competition he went up against. He was able to dominate the level with his size, power and athletic ability. Even though he shined at the Senior Bowl, it’s a huge step up to the NFL level. His speed and overall athleticism “is what it is”. Not very sudden of explosive and it takes time for him to get going. Not fast in pursuit and only shows quickness in short spurts. Lacks pass rush ability and doesn’t have a pass rush moves. Besides bull-rushing or collapsing the pocket when the play breaks down, he will be limited to a run defender.
Williams failed to qualify at Division-1 colleges out of high school, so there are some questions about his ability to learn complex defenses and process information rapidly. In terms of overall ability, Williams is still raw with his technique and will need some time to harness his ability properly. Needs to come up with an alternative for when he can’t beat opposing blockers with just his power.
It’s tough for any prospect to make it to the NFL level and even harder when you don’t play at the FBS level. Williams was able to dominate his level of competition enough to earn legitimate NFL interest. After a great week at the Senior Bowl and a strong NFL Combine, Williams is rocketing up draft boards. He’s projected to be an NFL nose tackle and he’s built like one. The strongest player at this year’s NFL combine, Williams can beat opposing blockers with overwhelming power.
While he doesn’t offer much versatility I do believe he can play in a 1-shade and slide out to a 3-technique every now and then. He will make an impact against the run as he is able to use his strength, low center of gravity and quickness to plug the middle and slide off to make tackles. He can be disruptive in tight areas making it tough to stop him when he has built up momentum.
Williams is one of the highest character players in this draft class. An all-around great kid who has worked tremendously hard to get to this point in his career. Williams was once an unknown commodity in NFL circles. Now there is a legit probability that he will go on day two of the draft, perhaps as high as the second round.