Meet the Denver Broncos first round pick Sylvester Williams
Williams thought he was done with football after high school, as he only played one season and wasn’t on anyone’s radar as a recruit. In fact, he nearly dropped out of high school because he wasn’t going to class. But after working at a factory (Modine Manufacturing Company, whose products include vehicle radiators) for a while post-graduation and seeing similarly sized players on the field at a Kansas Jayhawks game, Williams realized that he could go to college using his natural size and ability on the football field.
He walked on at Coffeyville Community College, and by the time he finished his second season (honorable mention JC All-American with 12.5 tackles for loss and five blocked kicks), several major college programs were hot on his trail. Williams decided on Chapel Hill as his preferred destination, immediately entering the starting lineup in 2011. His 54 tackles, seven for loss and 2.5 sacks made him stand out even with the great talent all along the Tar Heels defensive line. In 2012, Williams registered six sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 12 games played.
Wide body nose tackle with an unexpected bit of quickness off the snap. Has girth through the middle that makes him tough to move when he looks to anchor. Keeps his eyes in the backfield and locates the ball well (and will sniff out the occasional screen). Uses strong hands and upper body to rip past and push aside lesser linemen. Good flexibility and balance, showing the ability to bend and roll his hips through contact off the ball and keep a wide base to anchor against base blocks and doubles. Violent tackler, will throw ball carriers to the ground. Has enough short-area quickness to charge through the A-gap off the snap. Spins off blocks when moving forward to threaten hesitating quarterbacks or get a hand on running backs in the backfield. Can two-gap, moves to either side of his man to corral backs coming between the tackles. Shows good leverage, pad level, and hand quickness to split double teams. When fresh, he will chase a bit more than most players his size against the run as well as give a second effort if his initial pass rush move fails.
Lacks closing speed to get a lot of sacks or make plays outside the box. Overly reliant on the swim move. Does not bull linemen backwards very often, wont out-quick NFL guards. Flashes quickness off the snap, but gets stuck on blocks too often when tired, and loses ability to get to the ball even if able to disengage. Can get low and create a pile on the goal line, but gets pushed back when playing high in other short-yardage situations. Doesn’t have the athleticism to stop his momentum. Will run himself too far upfield and miss sacks and tackles when he cant stop himself and break down. Turns 24 during the 2012 season.
Williams quit the game after high school, but missed it enough to try again as a junior college enrollee. He should project as a starting NFL nose tackle, even if he is rotated out regularly against more pass-heavy offenses. Uses his hustle to chase ball carriers (20.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks in two years starting) and strong anchor to hold the line. He has good quickness in relation to his size, but is overly reliant on this athleticism at the moment. Plays both three-technique and one-technique for North Carolina, and it’s likely hes been coached/asked to be more of a penetrator than he will be in the NFL. For a player with his size and strength, you’d like to see him use it more. When he decides to get his pads low and anchor against base blocks and double teams, he can be impossible to move. Opposing teams made it a concern to try and run him upfield, or use his active motor in backside pursuit against him (running away from him to get him to chase and wear out).
Above information from NFL Network
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