By Kyle Rota
Name: Trent Williams
Height: 6045 V
Weight: 315 V
Athletic Ability: Williams doesn’t meet all the athletic criteria I use for offensive tackles, primarily his late jump off the snap (related to more than just athleticism, obviously) and his tendency to bend his waist when blocking. However, it’s clear from his other skills (leverage, strength, short area and long quickness, slide) that Williams is an elite athlete still trying to put it all together. That 4.86 40 time may not be very useful, but there is similar athleticism in the games. 7.0
Run Blocking: As this is a comprehensive category, it’s not as high as it could be. When it comes to blowing his man off the football, Williams is very good. He has the leverage and lower body strength to create holes in the running game. However, even against inferior competition, he often struggled to maintain proper balance and would overextend, allowing his man to make the tackle even after getting blown off the LOS. Athletic enough to reach LBs, but doesn’t consistently do so. Weapon on traps/pulls. Nastiness as a blocker can get him into penalty trouble, but it’s nice to see a blocker who consistently looks for guys to block. 7.0
Pass Blocking: Williams is a very good athlete who plays with tremendous knee bend. He can defend the outside very well and has an athletic, explosive frame. However, Williams has some bad habits that will need to be fixed before he can be trusted as a pass protector. He is more of a catch blocker than someone who uses his hands aggressively, he will dip his head before contact (causing him to miss or lose some blocks he should have), he doesn’t always “sit” with hit butt low during pass protection (will bend waist inexplicably, despite flexible knees) and he often gets a late jump. If he fixes this, he should be a very good protector, but I think good DEs will abuse him right now. 6.0
Motor: 7.0 His off-field motor is questionable (more on that later), but his on-field motor is almost too good. Nasty and looks to block people, but will get dumb flags.
Play Strength: 7.0 Not quite as strong as a guy like Andre Smith, but still possessing very good strength, particularly lower body.
Cut Blocking: 5.5 Rarely see him on the ground because he can block guys upright, but the few times he has tried to cut block it has not been pretty. Could also grade incomplete.
Feet Slide: 6.5 Williams moves his feet very well, but he is prone to getting off-balance and is susceptible to the outside-inside counter move.
Initial Quicks: 5.5 Seems to vary from game to game. Miami and Nebraska were not good games for Williams, but BYU and Tulane were. This shouldn’t be related to competition, but the poor games were on the road and the good games were either home games or close to home (BYU played OU in Arlington, Texas).
Blitz Pickup/On-Field-Smarts: 6.0 The entire OU line struggled to pick up the blitz at times, and Williams was no exception. However, because of this I’m not sure if Williams is really to blame, or if it is the center. Penalties and overly-aggressive play (at expense of fundamentals) do not help Williams here.
Pulling/Trapping: 7.0 This is one of my favorite areas to watch Williams, because he can flatten defenders and create large running lanes for his RB. Very athletic moving in space, but does struggle to land his blocks on moving targets occasionally.
Combo Blocking: 6.5 Has some zone experience at Oklahoma. Looks to be in sync with help, whether it is leaving for the second level or keeping the block and letting someone else go upfield. Needs to improve the consistency in landing blocks and sustaining blocks, though, as discussed earlier.
Hand Use: 6.0 Williams really needs work here, as he only flashes a punch and is more likely to shoot his hands outside the frame of the DL. However, when he keeps his balance he avoids overextending and can recover quickly.
Character: 6.0 I have no reason to suspect that Trent Williams is a bad person. He comes across pretty well in interviews and hasn’t been in the police blotter. However, I have heard from reliable source that Williams has struggled with his weight (does carry a gut, but OL aren’t usually sleek guys) and will need monitoring in the NFL. That is worrisome to me, and I wonder how hard he will work to overcome his flaws.
Summary: Williams is a frustrating prospect to grade because he does some things very well, but is capable of so much more. At this point, I do not think Williams deserves to go in the top-20 based on what I saw on the field, but his vast potential is undeniable. He combines excellent athleticism with excellent strength and a nasty demeanor. However, he struggles with some basic fundamentals that should not be a problem for an experienced player, and that combined with concerns about his ability to control his weight make me question whether or not he will ever fix his weaknesses. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not see Williams as often or against the level of competition I would like to, and sitting down with Williams and interviewing the OU staff myself would ease concerns about his work ethic/weight/football intelligence. Also played C for OU in their bowl game, due to injuries, showing versatility. I tend to be picky about which “projects” I like and which ones I do not, and Williams seems more likely to fail than many other 1st-round projects, so despite his immense potential I would not take him in the top-10, but some team will and there is a decent chance Williams becomes a pro-bowler.
Final Grade: 6.5