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Unsung Hero: Brandon Williams

A PFF look at the Big Man

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The least pretty position in the NFL, the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. Nothing is flashy about swallowing up blockers and letting every single player on the line rack in the stats. It takes a true dedicated fan to not talk about the sacks and tackles, but to notice the worries of an offensive scheme around a hulking defender blowing up the middle lane. While Brandon Williams will be in his sophomore season, his rookie year flourished. Of the 1,262 defensive snaps the defense was on the field (including post-season), Brandon saw 645. Brandon did start 16 of 18 games, and of those 18 games he accumulated a negative score only 6 times. Brandon's overall rating after all 18 games turned out to be +17.7. In the entire NFL, there were only 10 DT/NT combined with a higher overall ranking. Feels good to see Brandon Williams name above Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea and Nick Fairley.

Brandon is a 6' tall monster that tips the scales around 335 pounds. He is a massive individual. And Brandon has quickly established his hulking self as a premier nose tackle in the AFC North. The door is wide open for Brandon to absolutely wreck offenses attempting to stop his ability for years to come.

This past season while playing in only 51% of defensive snaps, Brandon Williams filled up the stat sheet. (All stats have been pulled from

  • 2 sacks
  • 4 QB Hits
  • 13 QB Hurries
  • 42 Tackles
  • 35 Defensive Stops [The number of solo defensive tackles made which constitute an offensive failure (including sacks)]

The highest overall rating in a single game for #98 came from one of my favorite games in the past couple seasons. Wild Card round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this game Williams put Roethlisberger into the turf, and solo tackled three plays. His stat shows 4 defensive stops. This means not only does Brandon show up in big games, but to create an offensive failure during every play you're involved in means business. You cannot ask a nose tackle for any more than what he gave.

The nose tackle in a 3-4 is not always on the field as you can see from Brandon's snaps; but when he is in it's mainly on expected rushing downs and when the D-line needs beefed up (goal line stands, 3rd or 4th down & inches). These plays make it very difficult to accumulate any kind of gaudy stats, meaning when Williams is in on the play, he is beating out double teams quick enough to be attacking the ball.

Brandon Williams will be even more effective this season with Haloti Ngata absent this year. I do know that Timmy Jernigan will be involved now tremendously, and the rotation of Carl Davis will also be in the mix, but this season Brandon will be upstaging his last performance.