Seventh Round: 223rd Pick
The defensive line is one of the deeper positions in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft. But after the first few rounds, Day 3 offers a handful of big guys who could make a huge impact at the NFL level.
Samford defensive tackle Nick Williams only played one year of football in high school before being offered to play collegiately. While at Samford, Williams was a two-year starter and now sets his sights on the NFL.
Impressive build makes Williams' scheme flexible. Williams could play as a defensive end in the 3-4 or as a defensive tackle in the 4-3.
Williams is an explosive player. He gets off the line of scrimmage quickly and is athletic enough to chase the ball-carrier down.
At times, Williams is caught trying to play too high. He has an impressive build for the position, but he needs to stay low to generate a push into the backfield.
And despite above-average strength, Williams isn't very active with his hands. Beating offensive linemen won't be as a easy at the NFL level, so he needs to improve in that area.
From a size standpoint, Williams (6'4", 309 lbs) would appeal to every team in the NFL, regardless of its defensive scheme. Williams put together an impressive showing at the combine, clocking a 4.97 40-yard dash and putting up 28 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
Williams' athleticism is apparent when watching Samford last season. While still a small-school project translating to the NFL level, Williams has the physical tools necessary to stick around the league.
Williams only played one year of high school football before being recruited by and committing to Samford. He had no known character concerns at the college level.
Dane Brugler @dpbrugler
Finally got some Samford tape, watched it on the plane. Not sure why DT Nick Williams isn't getting more buzz #NFLDraft2013-4-4 16:57:01
Samford primarily used four defensive linemen in its defensive scheme. Williams lined up inside at tackle and had a very productive senior season.
In the NFL, Williams could be used as a defensive end in a 3-4 or at defensive tackle in a 4-3.
Williams doesn’t add much as a pass rusher, but he does have a few moves in his arsenal. He has a nice a swim move to knock offensive linemen off balance.
Against the Run
When he stays low, Williams successfully uses his leverage to generate push into the backfield. Williams has some added value against the run, as his athleticism allows him to continue to chase the ball-carrier even if he gets outside the tackle.
Against double-team blocks, Williams does a nice job of holding his ground and allowing others to make the tackle.
Williams is a solid tackler, routinely using his size to drive the ball carrier to the ground. His tackling shouldn't be a concern at the NFL level.
Use of Hands
Willliams has solid upper-body strength but will have to improve on using his hands in the NFL. At Samford, he was able to use his size and quickness to beat offensive linemen, but things won't come as easy at the professional level.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
As mentioned before, Williams possesses a unique blend of size and athleticism that will allow him to play in multiple schemes in the NFL. He's built like a 3-4 defensive end and has above-average athleticism for a 300-pound guy.
Early in his NFL career, Williams will likely be used as a rotational lineman. But a few years down the road, Williams could prove to be a late-round gem with starting-caliber talent.