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Will Tim Williams off-field issues keep the Ravens from drafting him?

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NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl-Alabama vs Washington Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Next to Myles Garett, Tim Williams could be the most talented pass rusher in the draft class. His get-off is certainly unmatched by anyone not named Garrett. Though he lacks the upper body strength to be a consistent threat to bull rush, his hand placement is consistent, and his explosiveness does help him convert speed to power.

Williams however, is not a clean prospect. Charlie Campbell of Walterfootball.com has reported him potentially having a Randy Gregory-like substance abuse problem, along with various other off the field issues.

“Williams likely hurt his draft stock in late September with an arrest for carrying a pistol without a permit,” Campbell writes. “Alabama suspended him for the first half of the game against Kentucky as a resultWalterFootball.com, however, was first to report of other off-the-field issues that are hurting Williams' draft stock as he failed many drug tests at Alabama. Multiple team sources believe Williams could slip to Round 2 and their teams won't consider Williams in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. They say the severity of his substance-abuse issues are similar to Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory, who was one of the most talented players for the 2015 NFL Draft, yet slipped to the second round. Gregory has had repeated suspensions in the NFL, and teams are worried that Williams could face a similar issue.”

The Ravens are not barred from drafting this kind of prospect in the same way they would be when regarding a prospect with, for example, a Joe Mixon type of background. The drafting of Alex Lewis seconds this.

If the Ravens were to draft Williams, it would prove to be a gamble. Williams is as close to a “red flag” prospect the Ravens would have to deal with since Sergio Kindle. They have shown in the past to be willing to draft prospects with murky backgrounds. Williams would bring tremendous dynamism to the pass rush and Terrell Suggs would provide a good mentor.

The upside is too great to have Williams completely crossed off the list