The 2013 NFL Draft is stocked with high profile defensive linemen, so North Carolina's Sylvester Williams has been lost in the shuffle to an extent. However, the 6'3, 320-pounder from Jefferson City, MO has the potential to be a major contributor at the NFL level. Williams had 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks in 2012, and is coming off a very positive week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Here's a closer look at the strong points to Williams' game, as well as the areas that need improvement for him to be a productive NFL player.
- Quick first step for a man with such a large frame. He has the size to play as either a nose tackle or a three-technique defensive tackle, but is better suited to play as a three-technique in a 4-3 system.
- Unsurprisingly, Williams possesses a lot of raw strength and is good at using his arms to deal with offensive linemen and bring down ball carriers.
- Williams has a great swim move and can do it with both arms. However, the swim is his only real move, which will become an issue at the NFL level if he can't develop another way to get past offensive linemen.
- Struggles with consistency and can be quiet for long stretches. Some have questioned his work ethic, but it's not thought to be a significant issue that could keep teams away.
Williams did not go off the board in the first round in SB Nation's latest mock draft, but could creep into the late first round with a good showing at the combine. The team that selects him will more than likely run a 4-3 defensive scheme, so Williams may not be high on a lot of teams' big boards just due to schematic fit issues. The Houston Texans could take a look at him with the 27th pick.
Here's a look at Williams in action, courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.
2013 NFL Combine performance:
Williams didn't have a particularly impressive combine, as he struggled in most of the lower body strength drills. His 26.5" vertical and 8'6" broad jump pailed in comparison to the top defensive tackles in the class, but in Williams's defense, he showed up to the combine at 313 pounds and carried more weight than the defensive tackles expected to go in the first round.
With 27 bench press reps and a relatively impressive 4.93 40-yard dash, there's not much reason to believe that the combine should've hurt Williams much on draft boards.