The Houston Texans are clearly looking to address their linebacking need by experimenting a bit with their picks when it comes to stopping the run and falling into coverage.
They already have great pass-rushers in J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and others, and added Sam Montgomery to the fold on day two. They then went ahead and added Connecticut DE/OLB Trevardo Williams, who can make that edge rush even scarier.
Will Williams be used as an edge rusher while Montgomery moves to the inside, or vice-versa? Or is it possible that both are now rivals competing for that same position on the depth chart?
Role and roster fit
As a roster fit, I find Williams to be an easier locker room fit than Montgomery, but the two are not that far off. Williams put up big numbers while at Connecticut, and he is an explosive athlete, someone who could be particularly effective while opponents are focusing on J.J. Watt.
While he does have great athleticism, he is not a particularly powerful linebacker, though that problem should be less of an issue at linebacker as opposed to defensive end, which was his primary position in college.
My major concern is that he was never asked to drop into coverage, but as long as the Texans do not plan to move him inside, that's not an issue.
In fact, with the additions of Sam Montgomery and Williams, it's entirely possible that the Texans will move Brooks Reed inside. If that happens, then Williams, Mercilus and Montgomery can rotate at OLB, and suddenly that's a very tough position.
There are no questions about Williams' motor or his ability to get to the ball, so outside linebacker for Houston is a great fit for him. The fact that Houston may have found a starting OLB in the fourth round shows great value.
The key moving forward for Williams will be whether or not he can supplant Williams or Reed for the starting job. It is in fact likely, given that Montgomery or Reed are better options to move inside than Williams is.
Just as it will be for Montgomery, training camp and the preseason will be a very big deal for Williams. In the offseason, he will look to showcase that he can make an impact on the Texans immediately. Also like the plan is for Montgomery, the plan for Williams, at least for right now, is to use him as a SAM linebacker.
The big competition in training camp, as a result, will almost certainly be Williams versus Montgomery for a starting role on the front seven, and it's possible that Williams will win out due to his motor.
He is a durable player, so there are no concerns about him playing 16 games. Starting 10 to 12 games is not out of the question, and he could start all 16 if he shows enough in training camp.
Stat-wise, I can easily see him picking up six or seven sacks. Teams will be focusing big time on J.J. Watt this year, so that is going to open up lanes for Williams and Mercilus.
Just as long as the Texans keep him to what he does best, this will be a great pick in the draft, as Williams is the type of player whose skills fit in perfectly with what the Texans try to do.
Worst-case scenario, Williams will still be an effective pass-rusher at the NFL level. At the end of round four, that's still a great value.