It’s difficult to get an angle on who helped or hindered their stock at the Senior Bowl without seeing the mid-week work-outs. Thankfully, ‘footballmixtapes’ has put together two videos charting all the televised work of Brandon Williams (DT, Missouri Southern) and Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina) plus every snap both players took in the game.
It’s particularly helpful when trying to get an angle on Brandon Williams. Missouri Southern tape is hard to come by, but the game against Lincoln from 2012 is available online and it’s a coaches copy too. I’ve watched the video twice and came away completely underwhelmed. However, Williams seemed to get positive reviews at the Senior Bowl after a slow start.
The tape below highlights his improvement as the week went on. In the first few 1v1’s he gets dominated and looks completely ineffective. At the time Tony Pauline, who was in Mobile, commented: “(Williams) has NFL type size and shows a good degree of lower body strength but was easily handled and really needs to elevate his play here.”
In the 7v7 he also had little impact but managed to anchor nicely on a couple of the run plays. Pauline and several others left the Senior Bowl with a much more favourable opinion of Williams and it seemed like he stepped up his level of performance. This is what Pat Kirwan had to say after attending the Senior Bowl:
“A young man that struggled a lot early in the week to the point he didn’t look like he belonged here. Williams was on the ground Monday but was a force by Thursday. He told me he went back to his room Monday night and decided to do a better job for his mom and 3-month-old son. He’s got a fan in me after he recounted how his mother and brother lived in a car for a period of time when things were tough.”
You can see an improvement at the 1:39 mark, presumably tape of the later practises. This time in the 1v1’s he has some success, flashing a brutal swim move at 1:46 to beat Kent State guard Brian Winters. On the very next snap he beats Winters again with a powerful punch to the chest before rounding the corner with a nice burst. At 2:27 in the scrimmage session, he shakes off a blocker to get into the backfield forcing the quarterback to get rid of the ball. At 2:44 he shoves Winters into the quarterback and makes the play. If you were keeping an eye on his play later in the week, you’d come away impressed.
He looked nimble and athletic despite weighing 340lbs. He showed a greater ability to get off blocks than you see on tape. There’s a few occasions when he’s a little slow to react to the snap, but there’s something to work with on this evidence.
However, when you watch the Senior Bowl game tape, Williams seems to go back into his shell. He had virtually no impact and looked like the guy who failed to dominate against Lincoln. A lot of people say the work-outs mean more than the game time, but I think the opposite can be true for defensive and offensive lineman. They have an opportunity to flash power, athleticism and an ability to block or press. It’s the same as any other work out in that regard. It’s tough to judge the skill positions, the corners and even the linebackers in an all-star game, but it’s very easy to judge lineman. While the likes of Kawann Short, Sylvester Williams, Ziggy Ansah, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson and Larry Warford all stood out, I thought Brandon Williams, Alex Okafor and Margus Hunt were all disappointing.
It’s difficult to project his stock without seeing more tape. I definitely wanted to see him obliterate Lincoln’s offensive line given his size and mobility at 340lbs — and he didn’t manage it. I suspect whoever does draft him will be looking for a mid-round, high upside nose tackle. He could even nip into round two depending on need. Several teams are switching to the 3-4 and there aren’t a ton of nose tackles in this class (Jenkins, Hankins for sure, Lotulelei and Jesse Williams possibly). It might take Williams a year to adjust to the pro-level, but he could develop into an effective nose. Or he could be completely ineffective and out of his depth. It helps that he’s a high character prospect — one of the best in this class. Someone will give him a shot.
We’ve been over Slyvester Williams before but I still think he’s better suited to the one-technique rather than Seattle’s biggest need at the three. He can flash a great swim move and we saw it time and time again in college. But he’s not a constantly disruptive tackle like Kawann Short and he doesn’t have the upside (he’ll be a 25-year-old rookie) to make you run to the podium. He has quite a big frame and might struggle to beat pro-lineman for burst. Having said that, he looked good lined up next to Short in the Senior Bowl game and he managed to knife through a couple of times in the scrimmages and 1v1’s.
I’m increasingly sceptical that Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei will make it to #15, let alone #25. If they leave the board early, we have to compare the likes of Short, Sylvester/Jesse Williams and others to alternative needs and how the receivers/tight ends, linebackers like Khaseem Greene or other players compare. In an ideal world, this team drafts a great defensive tackle in round one. In reality, there might be better options elsewhere.
Something else to remember — John Schneider and Pete Carroll like Senior Bowl prospects. James Carpenter, John Moffitt, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson. They all attended the Senior Bowl. So there’s every chance they’ll be looking closely at the 2013 participants.
You’ll find both videos below. Brandon Williams is #66 and wearing a dark green helmet. Sylvester Williams is #92 and wearing a Carolina blue helmet. There’ll be an updated mock tomorrow as normal for Wednesday’s.