Sylvester Williams: 5 Things You Need to Know About the North Carolina DT
Sylvester Williams is yet another interesting story. At 24 years old, he is one of the older top prospects in the upcoming draft. There is, however, an interesting story that goes with that.
I will cover this and more in the following slides.
Williams was a dominating force for North Carolina in two seasons and will likely go off the board early on the second day of the draft.
Let's take a look at five things you need to know about the talented defensive tackle.
Full Name: Sylvester Williams
Date of Birth: November 21, 1988
Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri
High School: Jefferson City High School
Williams played just one season of high school ball and had to enroll in a junior college in order for mainstream collegiate programs to place him on their radar.
After two seasons at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, Williams drew interest from a myriad of programs. He chose North Carolina over the likes of Auburn, Southern California and Georgia (via Rivals.com).
2011 (Junior): 13 games, 54 tackles, 23 solo, seven for loss, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one interception.
2012 (Senior): 12 games, 42 tackles, 21 solo, 13.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks.
Williams started all 13 games in his first season at North Carolina and showed everyone why he was going to be a dominating force along its defensive line.
As a senior in 2012, he earned First Team All-ACC honors. He finished sixth in the conference in tackles for loss and eighth in sacks. Overall, Williams helped anchor the fourth-best rush defense in the ACC in 2012.
All statistics provided by CFB Stats.
Weight: 313 pounds
Arm Length: 33.5"
Hand Size: 10.75"
Broad Jump: 102.0"
40-Yard Dash: 5.03
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.80
Three-Cone Drill: 7.93
Vertical Jump: 26.5"
Bench Press: 27 reps at 225 lbs.
Williams put up a solid 5.03 40-yard dash at the combine, but failed to live up to expectations in other drills. He finished outside of the top half among defensive line prospects in every other generic category. That's not surprising considering the skill set that Williams brings with him to the NFL.
Showing off a surprising amount of athleticism, Williams was actually asked by scouts to participate in linebacker drills at North Carolina's pro day (via CBSSports.com). This goes to show you exactly how high NFL teams are on the fleet-footed defensive tackles.
All measurements and combine results provided by NFL.com.
Some may be asking why Williams is going to be a 24-year-old rookie and it's definitely an understandable question.
The talented defensive tackle only played one season of high school football and wasn't seen as someone who had a future in college because his "high school academic transcript was dreadful."
Williams went to class twice, maybe three times, a week that second year of high school. His focus wasn’t on grades. It was about earning enough money to buy a car, and he had his eyes on a Tahoe or a 1987 Cutlass Supreme. His job at Backyard Burgers, then Taco Bell, took precedent. When Williams worked the 3 a.m. closing shift, there was little chance he’d get up and go to school.
Making a long story short, Williams just didn't amount to a whole lot in high school. He didn't grow up in the greatest of environments and struggled to make mature decisions.
The day after graduation, Williams quit Taco Bell. He worked at Wal-Mart for a while before starting at Modine Manufacturing Company, a “real job,” in early August. For a 19-year-old kid in Jefferson City, $400 a week made for a very healthy paycheck.
After spending his Saturdays watching football while working at the manufacturing company, Williams made the decision to enroll at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas as a walk-on.
It goes without saying that Williams shined against inferior competition and drew a ton of interest from major college programs before deciding on North Carolina as his new home.
It's this type of story that really makes it fun to cover the draft for a living. Just four short years after earning $400 a week in a menial job, Williams is on the verge of becoming a million dollar football player in the National Football League.
While his age may turn some off in the first round, there is no doubt in my mind that Williams has the talent to be a dominating interior lineman at the next level.
Bleacher Report's Ryan Lownes had this to say in his scouting report on Williams:
A lightning-quick first step frequently puts blockers on their heels, and there are games in which he lived in the backfield. He demonstrates the power and quickness to win at the point of attack.
Williams is not without variety, utilizing a tremendous swim move. Additionally, he shows the ability to counter as a pass rusher. Good closing speed allows him put the heat on in pursuit.
It seems that Williams' best fit is on the inside on a basic 4-3 set, but I personally believe he would fare well playing defensive end in a 3-4. Teams that could use this type of young talent on the outside include the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots.
B/R's Matt Miller has Williams ranked as the No. 51 overall player on his final big board of 2013. In my humble opinion, that's about where he should go.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. He is the head sports editor over at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET, and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.
Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL.