NFL Draft 2013: Dallas Cowboys linked with Sylvester Williams

USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is loaded with talented defensive linemen, and the Cowboys have been linked to one in particular with the No. 18 pick.

With the unpredictability of the NFL Draft, it's usually hard to forecast where prospects may land outside of the top few picks. That may not be the case with the Dallas Cowboys' pick this season, as Dallas has strong ties to defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.

Insiders believe Williams is likely to be Dallas' choice at No. 18, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. The Cowboys have been linked to Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, but many believe he will come off the board prior to Dallas' selection. Safety may be a bigger need for the Cowboys, but Williams would fit nicely on the Dallas defense.

Dallas is shifting to a 4-3 defensive scheme this season, and Williams would give the Cowboys a versatile defensive tackle to add to the mix. The Cowboys have talent on the defensive line with Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher currently penciled in to start at defensive tackle. Both players, however, will be 31 heading into training camp, and there isn't a lot of depth behind them.

During his career at North Carolina, Williams flashed the ability to be a dominant player. He's known for his quickness off the ball and raw strength. He's still raw as a pass rusher and wore down late in games, but Williams could be make an impact immediately as a rotational player before developing into a full-time role down the road.

SB Nation ranked Williams as the No. 5 defensive tackle prospect in the draft and the No. 35 player overall. Williams is not currently projected to go in the first round of Dan Kadar's latest mock draft, but that could hinge on where Vaccaro goes. Kadar has the Cowboys taking Vaccaro in the first round. If Vaccaro comes off the board before Dallas picks, Williams may be the newest Cowboy on Thursday.

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The worst NFL draft picks of the century

What does your team need? Breaking down every team

NFL mock draft: Thursday looms

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