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Rereading NFL Draft Profiles: DT Brandon Williams

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NFL: Pro Bowl Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

And we’re back with another edition of rereading NFL draft profiles of current Baltimore Ravens. This time, the focus is upon the defense.

Brandon Williams, defensive tackle, Missouri Southern


Brandon Williams Draft Profile — NFL.com

Strengths

Presents a low center of gravity and strong upper body to push consistently push man-up blockers into the backfield. Gets hands on his man fast, extends his arm to get leverage and can hold his ground. Uses his hands to swim or rip past blockers into the backfield. Also wins gaps by attacking a shoulder or out-quicking his man with a first step. Moves down the line adeptly while engaged to flow with plays. Flashes the agility to jump over trash inside and move well in a stand-up rush position despite his thick lower body. Directs teammates on their responsibilities before the snap. Lines up at five-technique, nose and everywhere in-between.

I think this description still fits Big Baby in 2019. He’s a big-bodied monster with a great center of gravity. He’s damn good with his hand placement and using swim and rip techniques. I’d completely agree with his ability to move down the line as he follows a play. Brandon has a high motor and tracks well.

I would, however, disagree slightly with his ability to get in the backfield. He was doing so in college due to playing D-II and absolutely dominating (3x All-American), but the NFL is the best of the best. He isn’t crashing through like some had originally assumed. It’s not easy to create pressures and sacks at Nose tackle, especially when he’s the double-teamed target on most plays.

Weaknesses

Doesn’t make a lot of plays outside the box because of average effort and closing speed. Inconsistent at finding the ball, lowers his head at times trying to win gaps, allowing himself to get ridden out of plays. Slow to spin off blocks, and double-teams can move him. Must prove himself against stronger linemen, also that he has the stamina to be more than a rotational player.

Most of these are no longer true. He’s capable of getting off blocks and double-teams, as we’ve witnessed many times. His ability to stuff the tailback behind the line of scrimmage or bottle up the middle for short gains is important. His play helps the linebackers in the run more than analytics can show. Also, Brandon is more than a rotational player. In 2018, he played exactly 50% of the Ravens defensive snaps [Football Outsiders].

Overall

Brandon has turned into a great player for the Ravens. Though offensive lines continue to double-team Hulk, it’s more of a, “you all are locked in here with me,” situation. They attempt to wear him out by the fourth so they can run the football, while he simultaneously grinds their run-game to a halt. He’s eradicated his roster competition (Terrance Cody) and has played 83 games since joining the team. I believe he’s more than earned his placement here and the overall draft profile still holds up today.