Third Round: 89th Pick
Former North Carolina offensive tackle Brennan Williams enters the 2013 NFL draft as a possible second-day candidate. Williams is the son of former NFL defensive lineman and pass-rush specialist Brent Williams, who played for 11 seasons in the league.
Williams sustained a shoulder injury and missed the final four games of his 2012 season. This may have kept him from garnering extra attention from scouts after he entered his senior season as a potential second-round selection.
Still, Williams possesses great size, length and athleticism to warrant some consideration in the earlier rounds.
The combination of his height, long arms and athletic build makes him a great candidate for playing on the outside of an offensive line. Due to his length and good depth of his kick-step, he can re-route defensive ends around the outside of the pocket. He also has the ability to stop them in their tracks if they attempt to take an inside lane.
Williams has a very strong upper body and big hands that allow him to grasp a defender and control him throughout the duration of a play. He is a very smart player who understands the nuances of rushing angles and uses his knowledge to defend them properly.
He comes off the ball hard and is able to get to the second level on rushing plays and sustain blocks that can spring a running back into the open field.
Williams is still a bit raw at the offensive tackle position having only played for a season-and-a-half on the right side of the line. He misses certain subtleties of the game due to this. He has been caught turning his head toward his target, and that can tip off a defense as to the direction of the play.
He does not have elite quickness at the tackle position, which can hurt him in run-blocking and also limit him to the right side of the line.
His ability to lock on to faster defensive ends needs to improve. Williams will allow his hands to slip outside the numbers when he is beaten off the line, causing holding penalties.
Williams has great tangible characteristics for a right tackle in the NFL. He stands at 6'6", weighs 318 pounds and has 34" arms and 10.5" hands. With his athleticism, these attributes are NFL caliber for the right side of the offensive line.
Along with these qualities, he was able to run a 5.32 40-yard dash at the combine. He provided equal numbers during his pro day at North Carolina.
Williams has no known character issues and appears to be a very intelligent young man. He once made a New Year's resolution to earn more playing time while at North Carolina.
He comes from a great NFL bloodline and is still a budding player with room to improve and a high ceiling.
Williams played mostly out of the spread offense in college with the quarterback in shotgun along with four wide receivers and a running back.
This spread formation was used for both running and passing plays. With college using so much of the spread formation these days, this will not hurt Williams' draft stock.
However, he will need to be coached up on the nuances of playing offensive tackle with a quarterback under center.
Williams has a very quick initial step when dropping back in pass protection. His strong upper body and big hands allow him to provide a big punch to defensive ends which knocks them off of their routes.
He can be just a bit late coming off of the snap on occasion and does not flash great recovery ability, which could hurt him against faster NFL defensive ends.
Williams does have good movement skills behind the line of scrimmage when asked to pull. He does have a bit of a nasty streak in him and can knock down defenders when given an opportunity.
He is able to get to the second level and sustain his block throughout the duration of a play, allowing the ball-carrier to hit the open field.
Blocking In Space
On a positive note, Williams can sustain blocks in space and on screen plays due to the offensive system that was run in North Carolina.
However, one glaring weakness that he possesses is his inconsistency to sustain a block on a moving target in space. He has been known to take poor angles and whiff while on the move to the second level.
Williams shows nice bend in his three-point stance, which allows him to get off the line nicely despite his size. His strong hands provide nice punches to throw off defensive tackles and latch on to a pass rusher around the edge.
His initial kick-step provides nice depth off the line of scrimmage on passing plays and great understanding of blocking angles to cut off a pass-rusher.
Due to Williams' size and athletic ability, he may be limited to solely a right tackle in the NFL. His skill set may not allow him to take on some of the faster pass-rushers on a quarterback's blind side, but could certainly make him a force as a run blocker on the right side.
Teams will most definitely weigh this heavily when considering Williams as a potential candidate. Between this lack of versatility and his recent injury, he could be more of a third or fourth-round prospect at this point.