To Ravens fans living under a rock the past few years, we have a defensive tackle by the name of Brandon Williams that rivals Haloti Ngata’s prime in run stopping. Good news, ESPN is noticing him and felt the need to bring him up in their "underrated players" In$ider post.
"At age 24, Williams was an old rookie in 2013. He didn't start until 2014. But he has been a reliable run defender over the past two seasons. He ranked eighth in stops (any play that prevents an offense from gaining meaningful yardage toward a new set of downs) among defensive tackles in 2015." - Vincent Verhei
Reliable isn’t even the half of it. Brandon’s phenomenal size combined with athleticism shuts down multiple running lanes each play. The reason for the ‘underrated’ label has to do with him not being a pass rush specialist. Brandon hasn’t been asked to leave his his post clogging gaps to seek out the quarterback, instead he becomes a black hole where the run game goes to die. It works very well, and the reasoning is simple. Playing in the AFC North the run game is the identity of the division.
Running is the reason for most victories over each other in the AFCN. Williams is the gatekeeper and a complete necessity to stopping Le’Veon Bell Giovani Bernard , Jeremy Hill and Duke Johnson if he progresses well.
The value of a nose tackle that can suffocate the run game forces teams to become one dimensional in the pass. If the Ravens can figure out pass coverage this season a true difficulty for opposing offenses will be third down. No gain on most run plays courtesy of B-Will and C.J. Mosley force mid-to-deep-range passing downs. Baltimore ‘just’ needs to contain passing offenses to become successful this season.