The Denver Broncos will need to address the Defensive Tackle position during this offseason, whether it’s through Free Agency or the draft. Or both. This is a known fact. What we don’t know though, is where and when they will select one. Therefore, we will do our due diligence to understand what direction the Bronco Front Office will travel when they do their picking and choosing come April. There are plenty of Defensive Tackles in this draft that still need to be sorted through and evaluated, so let us continue slogging through them.
Jesse Williams is a Defensive Tackle out of Alabama. He stands at 6’3" and goes 320 lbs. and currently ranks 4th out of 215 DT’s across the nation and 22 overall for the 2013 NFL Draft. His pre-Combine 40 Time is listed as 4.94 and he is expected to be a 1st round draft pick.
Jesse is originally from Brisbane, Australian. He played at Alabama for the past two seasons after migrating to the US via Yuma, Arizona where he attended Arizona Western College in 2009 and 2010.
As a Junior in 2011, Williams earned the starting job at Defensive End and transitioned inside to Tackle on passing downs in a 4-man front. He started all 13 games and did a great job of stopping the run and pushing the pocket, finishing with 24 Tackles, 4 Tackles For Loss, 3 Quarterback hurries, one Pass Deflection and half of a Sack. Jesse missed half of one game with a shoulder injury. After rehabbing his shoulder to get back for the next game, he fell victim to food poisoning, which affected his game. Still, he did start and make 3 Tackles before going to the bench.
Jesse transitioned to Nose Tackle to anchor 3-4 defensive scheme in his Senior year. He was also a lead blocker during goal-line situations on Offense. A 2nd team All-SEC selection, he started 12 games, only missing the Western Kentucky game due to injury, more as a precaution. Williams made 36 Tackles, 2.5 TFL’s, one Sack, 2 Pass Deflections, 4 QB hurries and blocked a Field Goal attempt.
In an article from 2011, Alabama head coach Nick Saban had this to say about Williams:
"Jesse's probably made the most significant improvement from spring practice until now as probably just about any player on our team," Saban said last week. "He has ability, he has great size, he has good initial quickness, he can run.
"The technical aspects of playing football, the instinctive reactions that you use, how to use your hands, how to pass rush, those kind of things were things that he was a little behind on. But he's a bright guy, he learns really well, he works hard, he wants to be good, he's got a great attitude, so he has made tremendous progress in becoming a good player for us."
GRADE - 85.5
Williams’ family in Brisbane, Australia was so proud of his accomplishments and Alabama’s BCS championship that eight members of the clan (including his mother and father) were tattooed with the school’s logo and Jesse’s jersey number (54). That isn’t a big surprise to anyone seeing the vast amount of ink all over Williams’ body, which could be seen as an indication of the dedication and toughness he shows on the field on an every-down basis -– giving him a chance at a long NFL career.
He enrolled at Alabama in January 2011 so he could participate in spring practices -– a move that allowed him to start all 13 games as a five-technique defensive end. He was credited with 24 tackles, four for loss, on the season. With the departure of Josh Chapman to the NFL, Williams moved inside to handle nose tackle duties and started 13-of-14 games after sitting out the Western Kentucky game with concussion like symptoms. The Aussie showed more upfield ability than his predecessor, making 37 total tackles, 2.5 of which went for a loss including two half sacks. Williams added a blocked kick and continued to line up as a lead blocker in the Crimson Tide's goal line package.
STRENGTHS Brute Nose Tackle (though he plays some five-technique) with a very good motor. Solid two-gap player who keeps his eyes in the backfield to find the ball. Plays with leverage, gets under the pads of his man to hold the line or push him into the backfield. Has enough quickness and power off the snap to pop off his blocker and grab backs heading outside or coming through the middle. Uses quick hands to swat aside lunging blockers to penetrate into the backfield. Stays upright against cut blocks and gives second effort to get up when on the ground. Gets low with power in short-yardage situations. Also hustles to the sideline to chase scrambling quarterbacks and stretch plays when fresh. Pushes the pocket a bit as a pass rusher, and will work past lesser blockers’ shoulders into the backfield. Cleans up piles, sending linebackers flying.
WEAKNESSES Not an exceptional athlete, relies on hustle and strength to make plays. Lacks the quickness and agility to be a regular factor in pass rush or corral quicker ballcarriers in space. Thick in the middle and a bit thinner in the legs; plays top-heavy, ends up on the ground too often. Gets caught up on blocks at times inside, lacking hand and foot quickness to disengage to make the play.
NFL COMPARISON Sione Pouha
BOTTOM LINE This Australian native came through the junior college ranks before starting all 13 games for the 2011 BCS champions at five-technique and another 13 games at nose tackle in 2012. Williams uses his size, consistent motor and supreme toughness to drain his opponents at the point of attack. His best NFL position is likely at nose tackle, but Williams has enough athleticism to play multiple spots for a 3-4 team at the next level.
STRENGTHS: Has a naturally wide frame with relatively short limbs, giving him the low center of gravity conducive to holding up at the point of attack.
Possesses unbelievable weight-room strength (600 pound bench press) that translates well onto the football field due to his use of leverage and surprisingly good technique considering the fact that he's a relative neophyte who only took up the game at age 15 and has played just four seasons of football in the United States.
Has improved his use of hands over his two seasons at Alabama and has developed into a cognitive defender capable of reading the action, shedding the block with heavy, active hands and making the tackle in the hole.
Has the length to play outside as a five-technique defensive end, a role in which he initially played during his junior season with the Tide before sliding inside to the nose as a senior. Good phone-booth quickness and plays hard, competing to the whistle.
Also served as Alabama's short-yardage fullback in 2012, a testament to his power and aggression. An ascending talent with passion and work ethic to improve.
WEAKNESSES: Bit of a one-trick pony as Williams does not possess the quickness or the agility to collapse the pocket as a pass rusher. Must do a better job of protecting his knees as he is susceptible to cut blocks. Too often raises his pad level at the snap, negating some of his power and making him all the more vulnerable to cuts, as he possesses only moderate flexibility.
Has to do a better job of getting his hands up in passing lanes as he rarely gets home as a pass rusher (just three passes broken up in 25 career starts at Alabama).
Plays with good effort but lacks lateral agility and struggles to knock down ballcarriers with any room to maneuver.
COMPARES TO: Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots -- Like the Patriots' run-stuffing nose guard, Williams isn't going to pressure the quarterback often but his size and strength will make him a force in the middle.--Rob Rang
Jesse Williams prospect profile
By Jason Garrison on Jan 24, 2013 | SB Nation
The 6'4, 320-pound nose tackle will attract NFL teams looking for help stopping the run, especially up the middle. 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.
Jesse Williams 2012 Preview
By Charlie Campbell from Walter Football
Williams thrived in his first season of SEC football. He did a superb job of eating up blockers to free up linebackers. Despite his inexperience playing the sport, Williams showed versatility to play multiple positions along the line. He had 24 tackles with four tackles for a loss and .5 sacks last year. Williams did his job well and helped Alabama's stifling defense lead the program to a National Championship.
Skill-Set Summary: Williams is perfect as a defensive lineman in a 3-4 defense. He has the power and bulk to occupy multiple blockers along the offensive line. That frees up the linebackers to rush the quarterback or chase down the running back. Not only does Williams set the edge well, but he can bull rush to collapse the pocket on passing downs. Williams is a real force at the point of attack, and offenses struggle to have any success when they run his direction.
Even though he has big measurements, Williams carries his weight well. That being said he needs to improve his knee bend and leverage. Those aspects of Williams' technique should get better as he gains more experience while getting more coaching. He also could refine his pass-rushing skills.
If Williams moves into a 4-3 defense in the NFL, he will need work on his pass-rushing. More likely, a 4-3 defense would have him serve as a nose tackle to occupy blockers and stuff the run. He shouldn't be viewed as a real pass-rushing threat in either scheme.
For the NFL, Williams looks like an ideal 3-4 defensive end and/or nose tackle.
Jesse Williams Being Awesome
Jessie Williams vs Texas A&M and LSU 2012
Jesse Williams vs. Tennessee (2012)
Williams 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.
This 22 year old has only been playing organized football for 7 years, but his Rugby instincts have served him well. Although still a bit raw due to that, Jesse has enough brute strength to be an impact player. He also has the instincts of how to play his opponent, I believe this kid has a very high ceiling. He is a team player and has good character. Jesse would be an asset to any teams clubhouse and make a difference on their Defense. There is too much to like even if he isn’t a Day 1 starter, which means he likely won’t make it to the 28th pick.
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