The Ravens drafted defensive lineman Brandon Williams in the third-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. With the intent that he could hopefully either team up with then Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata as one of the more dominant defensive lines in the league or that he would take over for Ngata if the veteran were to retire or his salary got too hefty for the Ravens liking.
Enter 2015 and the Ravens shipped Haloti Ngata off to the Detroit Lions after he was unwilling to rework the final year on his contract, worth $16 million against the salary cap, and promoted Williams into the starting role. Williams had to step up in the final few regular season games of the 2014 NFL season due to Ngata's suspension for PEDs and played admirably during that time, but a full season would be a test for any player, especially one trying to take over for a Pro Bowl player.
Yet the big man has proven himself to be a steal in the third-round and one of the best players on the Ravens roster all together. Pro Football Focus currently has Williams ranked as the highest-rated defender against the run by a mile with a +23.3 and the sixth-rated defensive lineman overall. What is even more impressive is that Williams to start the season was actually rated 3rd overall among all defensive tackles. Haloti Ngata has only played in 6 games this season and is ranked well below Williams according to PFF.
The fact that Williams is still on his rookie deal helps the Ravens even more. For the 2015 NFL season, Williams is slated to count as only $713,750 against the cap. For contrast, Ndamukong Suh earns $18.5 million more than Williams and only rates +1.2 over Williams. Breaking it down even further, the Miami Dolphins are paying Suh approximately $800,000 for every positive point rating for PFF, while the Ravens are paying Williams a measly $29,000 per positive point rating.
Even though the Ravens are 2-6 entering week 10 of the NFL season and are a far shot at a playoff spot at the best case scenario, there is still plenty of hope for the future. The Ravens, if healthy, are only a few pieces away from being a serious threat to any and all teams in the NFL. Part of the reason for that is the players the Ravens have in the trenches, with Brandon Williams being the highlight of the groups.