Ravens Draft Tim Williams After Taking Fellow Alabama Defender Marlon Humphrey

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 12:  Tim Williams #56 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after his first sack against Nick Fitzgerald #7 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens selected Alabama linebacker Tim Williams with the 78th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. 

Williams is a high-upside prospect with the chance to develop into a massive edge-rushing asset at the NFL level. He's still a bit raw in other areas, especially in terms of handling his assignment in the run game, but the tools are there for him to eventually become a three-down player.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports passed along the linebacker's measurables from the combine:

His first-step explosiveness is terrific, and he's worked to add more moves to his pass-rushing arsenal, which is essential to success against NFL linemen. He's the type of player who's capable of making an impact in passing situations right away.

Williams' overall value will depend on whether he can take the next step to become a well-rounded linebacker or if he'll always be more of a niche player.

He struggled to make consistent plays against the run during his time at Alabama. Learning to set the edge rather than over-committing to the inside will be crucial. He'll also need work handling running backs in isolation after getting a lot of help within the star-studded Crimson Tide defense.

In addition, there are off-field concerns. Michael Casagrande of AL.com provided comments from the defender about being honest with NFL teams about failed drug tests in the past.

"Oh, yeah. I have failed some," Williams said. "A young player, making decisions that I grew from. That's all about life, being a man and owning up to your situations—owning up to your mistakes because everybody makes some. I'm not here laughing around and joking. I know I have something to prove."

At the same time, it's impossible to ignore his potential to become a key contributor on the defensive side of the ball. He racked up 20 sacks in 34 games with Alabama, including 18.5 over his last two years with the program.

Bleacher Report showcased one example of why he carries so much intrigue:

Ultimately, Williams falls squarely into the category of a high-risk, high-reward pick. But given the extreme importance of edge players in today's NFL, taking a chance on a player with his type of skills is a worthwhile investment.

The Ravens decided to take a chance on the Alabama standout, who brings championship-level experience along with his promising tools. It's not a surprise Ozzie Newsome targeted an Alabama player, since they always seem to be high on his list of draftees and they took cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round.

Williams will be able to play with former Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and learn from star edge-rusher Terrell Suggs.