Nose tackle Jesse Williams anchored Alabama's three-man defensive line, excelling against the run, throughout the 2012 season and was a major reason the Crimson Tide were crowned national champions.
Alabama allowed just 79.8 rushing yards per game, a 2.5 yards-per-carry average, through the 2012 season. While Williams isn't as big of a name as linebacker C.J. Mosley, his play at nose tackle made the team front seven's play against the run so tough.
Williams, a native of Australia, grew up playing rugby before making his way to America and making the transition to football. He attended Western Arizona Community College to catch up on the transcripts needed to play at the FBS level, where he recorded 76 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks over two seasons. He was recruited heavily by several SEC schools and eventually chose Alabama, transferring before the 2011 season.
In 2011, Williams played as a defensive end and made 24 tackles, four tackles for loss and half a sack before he was moved to nose tackle due to his size and speed. In 2012, he started 12 games, had 36 tackles -- including 2.5 for loss -- one sack, deflected two passes, had four quarterback hurries and blocked a field goal, earning second-team All-SEC honors.
The 6'4, 320-pound nose tackle will attract NFL teams looking for help stopping the run, especially up the middle. He is No. 9 on SB Nation's big board and, according to his scouting report, could fit into either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme as a run stopper:
Jesse Williams presents an interesting draft options for teams in need of defensive linemen. He provides scheme versatility, having played 3-technique and nose tackle while at Alabama. He could fit into either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense and instantly make an impact against the run from day one.
- Great natural center of gravity to help him shed blockers
- Extremely strong and powerful; offensive linemen will have a hard time moving him
- Has the ability to play five-technique defensive end as well as nose tackle
- Plays hard through the whistle
- Also played as Alabama's short-yardage fullback
- Isn't a strong pass rusher, so isn't an every-down player
- Has good straight-line quickness, but doesn't have much lateral speed
- Needs to condition better, as production has slipped late in games
- Has "YOLO" tattooed on his face
Williams would likely fit best into a team that runs a 3-4 defensive scheme where he could get the most playing time at nose tackle. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers or Dallas Cowboys could find interest in Williams in the first round.
He anchored a unit as dominant as any in college football. He confronted at least two blockers on most plays, clearing space for three linebackers to lead the Crimson Tide in tackles. He served as the lead fullback in Alabama’s offensive jumbo package. He could have also kicked field goals and extra points if needed, Williams said, even at 6 feet 4 inches and some 320 pounds.
Such versatility underscored Williams’s eclectic personality, his play on the field as varied as his interests. Asked if he had ever met anyone like Williams, center Barrett Jones laughed.
"No," he said. "Have you?"
"All the teams know how strong I am. I'm trying to show off other attributes," he said.
Williams tweets at @ThaMonstar -- mainly pictures of him lifting weights, which he's quite good at:
Late Night Sesh instagr.am/p/U6EULoGQdh/— Jesse Williams (@ThaMonstar) January 25, 2013
- Williams started playing football when he was 15, and was luckily spotted by Arizona Western defensive coordinator Jerry Dominguez on a trip to Australia. He played there before beginning his career for the Crimson Tide. He had 37 tackles, 2.5 for loss, in 2012.
- Williams is currently training for the Draft Combine, where he plans on breaking several records for lifting:
A native of Brisbane, Australia, Williams can max out at 600 pounds on the bench press, and he told News.com.au that he expects to break the Combine’s all-time record for repetitions of 225 pounds. But he added that the bench press isn’t his primary focus as he prepares for the Combine.
- Williams spoke to the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, via Skype after winning his second national championship with the Crimson Tide. He's become a bit of a celebrity in his homeland. SB Nation's Steven Muma wrote up his story before the national title game.