Sunday, 31 January 2010

POTD: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 329
Unofficial 40: 5.25

Quick impressions-


-Decently quick off the snap
-Doesn't get run over- holds the point of attack against double teams
-Powerful and can occasionally dominate a single blocker.
-He's never had a notable injury as far as I can tell (slight ankle tweak once)
-5 year player with a lot of experience.
-No character concerns.


-His pursuit and hustle is downright shameful at times. He doesn't even try to jog fast.
-Survives double teams but doesn't beat them.
-Isn't a great pass rusher
-Rarely penetrates which is reflected by modest TFL's (9 in 2009, 8.5 in 2008)
-Some slight weight issues in the past and given his lack of hustle he may have work ethic or endurance issues.
-Turns 23 in June. DTs don't have long careers and he's getting a little bit of a late start.

Dan Williams isn't an elite prospect, but he's still a very desirable commodity for many teams in the upcoming draft. It wouldn't shock me if Williams was the 3rd DT taken off the board. Williams is kind of at a sweet spot in terms of his size, he could be a 3-4 nose tackle (which has become a super-premium position in the NFL nowadays) but also could manage as a 1 tech type for a needy 4-3 team like Chicago (if they still had that pick).

The reason that Williams is so valuable to teams like those is because he's experienced, proven, consistent, stays healthy, and stops the run as well as anyone in this draft.

I think Williams is best suited going to a 3-4 team because as a nose tackle, Williams' weaknesses will matter less. Nobody expects a 3-4 NT to be a sack threat or smash running backs in the backfield. A NT's job is simply to occupy space, and Williams is pretty good at that. As a 4-3 one technique, there would be more onus on him to make plays in the backfield and occasionally generate pressure. A 4-3 team may draft him if they are desperate for a run stopper, but I think he'll probably get drafted by a 3-4 team.

What really jumps out from that clip I linked is how Williams gives up on plays so easily. When he's double teamed, I don't really see that chip on his shoulder to try and beat it, he seems content just to force a stalemate. When a player gets by him, even in one case when a QB simply moved up in the pocket, Williams very suddenly will lose interest and will jog, slowly, in pursuit of the play while the result is still very much in doubt and when he could still potentially have an impact on the outcome. I'm not the biggest fan of Lawrence Jackson, but I love his extreme hustle in pursuit and its made a positive difference numerous times (big tackles way downfield, etc). Maybe its just a pet peeve because I used to play DT (I played both sides) and busted my ass doing it, but it just never sits right with me seeing an NFL prospect loafing through a live play.

Despite that, if the Seahawks were in dire need of a pure run stopper to pair with an existing elite 3 tech, I'd gladly endorse Williams. He's simply great at stopping the run. However, I don't think he'd be as good as a 4-3 one technique as Brandon Mebane, and Carroll has talked about how he wants to go "smaller" on this defense, while trying to wring more out of the pass rush. Those factors conspire to make Dan Williams a pretty unlikely pick for Seattle, which is probably for the best. Still, he enjoyed a good Senior Bowl and if Carroll somehow fails to realize that Mebane belongs at the 1, Williams becomes a slim possibility with one of our first round picks.


John said...

Did he say he was going smaller? I heard him say 'faster.' Why would he want 'smaller?'

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