Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
What do you mean the Broncos are looking at a Tight End!
With Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Virgil Green and Julius Thomas signed through 2014, you would think that the Denver Broncos shouldn’t even be paying attention to any Tight End prospects at this point. Point is, they don’t really need a Quarterback either, but they are looking at those players as well. During the Senior Bowl week last month, it was reported that a Broncos representative interviewed Alabama Tight End Michael Williams. Let’s see if we can find out why.
This Redshirt Senior and 3-year Letterman is a 6’6", 269 lb. specimen ranked 13th out of 109 Tight End prospects nationwide and 228th overall for the 2013 NFL Draft. His pre-Combine 40 Time is listed as 5.15 seconds. Williams is projected as a 6th to 7th round prospect.
#89 Michael Williams
Arm Length-32 3/4"
Hand Length-10 1/8"
One of the Tide's most experienced players, with 40 career starts over four years, Williams plays a big part of the Crimson Tide running game as an edge blocker for a team that averaged 210 yards per game during his tenure at Bama. Michael only caught 51 passes for 503 yards and 7 Touchdowns, but showed to be a reliable short range target. 19 of his 37 catches (51.3%) during his junior and senior year went for 1st downs.
In 2012, Williams was 4th on the team with a career-high 21 receptions for 166 yards and a career-best 3 Touchdowns during the 2012 season.
As a Junior in 2011, Michael was a steady force for Alabama. A two-year starter at Tight End with 27 career starts and 13 on the season, he caught 16 passes for 191 yards for an 11.9 yard average with 2 TD’s and a two-point conversion. 5 of those receptions went for explosive plays of 15 yards or more. Williams played a key role in Alabama's 16th ranked rushing offense that averaged 214.5 yards per game and also helped the Tide on Special Teams. He started on the Kickoff Return and Field Goal Units.
In Williams Sophomore season (2010), he started in 11 of the 13 contests and hauled in eight passes for 100 yards and a Touchdown. He also returned two kicks for 15 yards with a long of nine yards, though the majority of his playing time was spent blocking as Alabama rode RB Trent Richardson to a 10-3 record.
In 2009. Michael played in all 14 games with 3 starts as a reserve Tight End, totaling three receptions for 29 yards. He was a key blocker for the Tide's No. 12 rushing attack and his blocking was instrumental in Alabama’s 205 yards rushing in a 37-21 victory over the Longhorns that clinched Alabama's 13th national championship.
2008: Redshirt season.
NFL.COM DRAFT GRADE-68.9
STRENGTHS: Williams flashes the hands and athletic ability to high-point passes over defenders, and is tough enough to work in traffic over the middle. An excellent run blocker, he seals Defensive Ends inside on off-tackle plays. Uses his strong hands and gets his nose dirty as a run blocker.
He employs his large frame as both a receiver and blocker. Adjusts well to passes with better body control than expected. Nice job selling routes and working hard to get open. Tough to bring down after the catch to pick up extra yards. Large, reliable hands with good focus to track passes and length to pluck.
WEAKNESSES: Michael's straight-line speed could be an issue as he is slow coming out of his stance and quite heavy-legged when lumbering down the field. He certainly won't blow past any defenders, though he may run them over.
As a pass blocker, the quicker edge rushers will give him troubles at times and he will need to work on his first step. Plays a bit stiff and
lacks the flexibility to cut down or adjust to targets in space. Could get his hands inside more consistently when blocking to control his man.
NFL COMPARISON: Matt Spaeth (Bears), Jake Ballard (Patriots)
BOTTOM LINE Williams looks like a lean offensive tackle, and often blocks like one; he might have the speed of a lineman, as well, but his solid receiving hands and red zone presence will virtually guarantee that he sticks in the NFL for a very long time as a team's second Tight End.
Williams didn't produce overwhelming stats for a three-year starter, but he was often asked to stay home and block. The Bama's Offensive Line has been arguably the best in the nation the past few years and Williams is a large part of that as the unsung glue of their Offense. He won't wow athletically or with speed, but his blocking ability will make him an attractive option for teams that utilize double tight end sets.
Charlie Campbell over at Walter Football adds:
The bread and butter of Williams' game is his run blocking, but he is a better receiver than his numbers indicate. He is extremely strong at the point of attack and uses his big body to match up well against Defensive Ends. There are rarely ends who can match his power.
Williams' size allows him to be more effective than a vast majority of Tight Ends in the ground game. He also has the athleticism to get out in front and hit blocks on Linebackers and Safeties. He is the complete package as a run blocker.
Alabama has really coached Williams well in blocking technique. He has good form to engage defenders and sustain his blocks. If Williams was heavier, he could be an option as an offensive lineman.
Williams is quicker and more athletic than people realize for the passing game. He can get open running routes and has the potential to be a good red-zone weapon.
Williams struggled as a receiver during the Senior Bowl week. He had a number of drops Monday including one in an individual drill. As a blocker he's tough to beat and that sets him up to be a physical second Tight End who could show up as a short-area end-zone target. A team will see his size and experience and get enamored with him enough to spend a third-round pick. - Dave Richard, CBSSports.com
2013|Senior Bowl Highlights|North vs South|
Michael Williams vs. Mississippi State (2012)
McCarron-Williams TD Pass Alabama vs. Michigan 2012
2011 Alabama vs. Penn State - AJ McCarron to Michael Williams
Michael Williams will probably never be an elite receiving Tight End along the lines of a Gronkowski, Gates or Gonzalez, but he is most effective in the short yardage, short field (Red Zone) and Jumbo packages. He has the arm length to do double-duty as a Tackle and has O-Line experience in his resume. He isn’t H-Back material, but he really hasn’t had the chance to develop as anything but a blocker, so it would be rash to estimate his ceiling as a receiver. If he develops into a Matt Spaeth type Tight End, he will carve out a comfortable living in the NFL. For a 6th to 7th round draft pick, he’d be a steal.
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