Brandon Williams Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Missouri So. DT
Third Round, 94th Pick
The ideal nose tackle is said to be short and stout. No two words better describe Brandon Williams. The small-school product may not be the perfect player, but at 6'1", 335 pounds, he has that part down. The question, though, is just how much teams will value his ability to perform in that capacity. Thus is the NFL draft.
As was already mentioned, Williams is incredibly stout, but not so much that he is completely out of shape. Williams is one of the strongest players in the draft, as his 38 reps of 225 pounds clearly demonstrate. He consistently displays tremendous lower- and upper-body strength and shows a great understanding of leverage as well.
While not a great athlete, Williams can use his sheer power to shove offensive linemen back against both the run and pass. Williams' bulk and strength make him nearly immovable as well, and he does a terrific job of clogging up lanes in the run game.
Williams' biggest issue is his lack of balance. He too often lunges when trying to penetrate the backfield, leaving him off balance. Williams is on the ground fairly often, but it's almost never because he was overpowered. Off the snap, Williams is, for lack of a better word, slow. That's to be expected for a 335-pounder, but his lack of explosiveness is a legitimate concern.
Besides Williams' power, he doesn't offer much in the way of pass-rushing ability, and his only way of penetrating is by driving the offensive lineman backwards. He's a bit of a one-trick pony there.
Williams is obviously a large man, though he isn't overly tall. However, he does still offer decent length, as his arms measured in at 32.625". Those are more than long enough for the nose tackle role he will play. Williams' strength is impossible to miss, and he isn't a terrible athlete either.
There isn't too much out there regarding Williams' character. He's never been in trouble off the field, though, and he shows a constant motor on the field. He's a big man, but he's not the slob many defensive tackles of his size are.
Williams primarily lined up as a three-tech in Missouri Southern's 4-3 defense. He generally focused on penetrating the backfield, but he would at times be asked to two-gap.
Williams' pass rush is based solely off his power. He does a great job of staying low, using leverage and shoving guards into the backfield. His active hands allow him to disengage from blockers and get to the quarterback.
So, despite lacking burst and athleticism, Williams is surprisingly adequate as a pass-rusher. He won't be a huge threat there, but he's good enough to pick up the occasional sack and be a factor on third downs. When he's double-teamed, though, Williams isn't athletic enough to shred the block and is typically neutralized.
Against the Run
This is Williams' area of specialty. His size makes it nearly impossible for two, let alone one, offensive lineman to move him in the run game. However, Williams isn't purely an immovable object. He uses his strength and leverage to shove offensive linemen into the backfield. The typical penetrating defensive tackles use speed and quickness to get by offensive linemen—Williams simply shoves them backwards.
Despite his limited athleticism, Williams does a great job moving with offensive linemen toward the ball, always trying to find the angle. His constant motor is also a plus here, as Williams constantly fights to be in position to make a play. Williams' biggest problem here is his lack of balance. As he tries to penetrate the backfield, Williams often lunges and falls to the ground, completely taking him out of the play.
Williams has no problem wrapping up an offensive player and bringing him down. His only issue with tackling is his lack of mobility. Often, Williams comes up just short of grabbing a running back as he blows by.
Use of Hands
Williams' hands are constantly moving as he attempts to shred blocks. He is strong enough to shove an offensive lineman backwards with a single punch, but his hands are still quick enough to keep his opponent off-balance.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
It's difficult to imagine Williams playing a role other than nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. His size and power make him a perfect fit there. However, Williams could also play the one-tech position in a 4-3 scheme, but he won't be as valued there.
*Physical stats and combine results courtesy of NFL.com
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