Originally written April 16, 2013 on Purple Jesus Diaries:
Leading up to this month's draft, Purple Jesus Diaries will take time analyzing potential draft targets for the Minnesota Vikings. With our cutting edge video technology, long hours spent scouting literally DOZENS of college players from our couch, and occasionally insight from Vikings meathead CapitalJsCorner, we're give you details you never even dreamed of from prospects that could help the Vikings in 2013. Based on the team needs established in our offensive and defensive team reviews, we present to you the 2013 Who Ya Gonna Draft? feature ... Who? Defensive Tackle prospect Sylvester Williams is a huge man. He's 6'2", weighs 313 pounds, and could probably eat 25 Nook burgers if you say him down there. Without blinking. He's also one of the top ranked defensive tackle prospects in the draft, and - no joke - he actually comes from North Carolina. Haha! I know, right?! What is this, a Timberwolves draft? No, this is a Vikings draft for a team that is getting real thin up the middle of their defense, and if we know anything about Coach Leslie Frazier, he likes to build his team around the running game. And that means offensively and defensively, so finding a stud bro who can cram himself into holes up the middle is probably both arousing and necessary. So let's learn more about this potential pick! Capital Js Take: Capital J hasn't sent me notes on Sylvester yet, probably because HE HATES HIM! ... I actually don't know that. I do know that he had like six defensive tackles listed as first round prospects, and Mr. Williams here was listed as the sixth prospect. I'm pretty sure he wasn't trying to arrange names alphabetically, or else he may be real stupid, so that means he's not as high on Sylvester as other outlets are. For instance, ESPN has him listed as the 4th best DT in the draft, projected to go around 15th spot or so. Others grade him out differently as we'll see. Either way, the kid's got some talent, but it's all about balancing the Vikings' draft needs with player value at any given pick. NFL.com Notes: So, what does NFL.com say about him? Is he secretly a cat that thinks quarterbacks are birds? Legitimate question. But once again we'll look at some of the good things and the bad things that the totally partial NFL.com has to say about a prospect, starting with the GOOD: 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. And now - brace yourselves - THE BAD! 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, won’t 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 can’t stop himself and break down. Turns 24 during the 2012 season. These "professional analysts" talk about guys being "slow to penetrate gaps and get off" and stuff, and I'm thinking, Christ, if he was TOO QUICK doing all that stuff, the dude would be getting skewered by his bros! Give him a break! He's doing something right! At least when it comes to heavy petting time. So? Sylvester would be an interesting prospect for the Vikings. On one hand, he'd bring the return of the Williams Wall for at least another year, which would be SUPER COOL. He's also noted as more of a pass rusher instead of a run stopper, similar to Kevin Williams, so it's not like it'd be the Williams Wall of old where Fat Pat would just stand there and make running backs **** their pants, while Kevin rushed the quarterback. But that's probably OK, too, if the pass rushing piece is a bit repetitive. In a division as pass happy as ours is, a stout defensive front four of pass rushers could tear Aaron Rodgers' balls off after he holds the ball too long. LIKE TWICE A GAME! It'd be sweet. I don't know though. I haven't seen the Vikings taking a defensive tackle with either one of their first picks this year. I feel that it's so obviously going to be a combo of WR/LB that DT kind of falls to the wayside. Don't get me wrong though. If the talent is there (whether it's Sylvester or someone else) I wouldn't be shocked if the Vikings took a tackle. You just know they otherwise have to find their starting middle linebacker with one of those other two first round picks, so the chances for taking a DT out of luxury are slim, especially when this team still has so many needs to fill. Translation? Yeah, we're still going to suck. So? Do you like Sylvester or would you want a different defensive tackle in this draft? 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