Senior Bowl work-out tape – Brandon & Sylvester Williams

February 5th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Brandon Williams had a mixed week at the Senior Bowl

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.

56 Responses to “Senior Bowl work-out tape – Brandon & Sylvester Williams”

  1. Scott Allen says:

    It seems the stark reality of the situation is that D line positions, while deep, will certainly be coveted and drafted early. It’s a bit of a bummer but I trust our boys will pick wisely. I think your Khaseem Greene guess may just be the most accurate/likely pre draft prediction I’ve heard. Go Hawks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s an unfortunate situation regarding the DT’s and one or two might fall through the cracks. But I think picking so late in the first will encourage the team to explore the free agent DT’s.

      • Zach says:

        Which FA DT’s would you be happy with besides Melton/Starks?

        • Rob Staton says:

          At a pinch, Desmond Bryant. But I think Melton gets tagged. Starks would be ideal on a 2-year deal.

          • SunPathPaul says:

            It’s a bummer to pick so late in the round, but it is a pain I’ll take because we are winning some games! I really want to see PC/JS/RW/ML all win the Lombardi…what a day that will be!

          • dave crockett says:

            Omar Kelly, the excellent ‘Phins beat writer tweeted yesterday that he only expects Miami to re-sign 2 of their 5 pending free agents. He thinks Miami is cleaning house. Based on other stuff he has written, it doesn’t sound as though Starks will be re-signed.

            I was surprised because I didn’t think there was any way Miami would let Starks go (short of franchising him). Kelly is just making an educated guess, obviously, but he’s generally well-informed.

  2. Zach says:

    Brandon Williams looks cumbersome.

  3. Sawker_Dawg says:

    It seems like before the combine, the lineman get noticed more, especially when you need a DL like we do. However, the combine seems to build up the other positions. Do you think that we are afraid the Hawks lose out on a top DT since that is what we are focused most on? It’s like a paranoia that others will take what we want and the top 3 DT might be off the board soon but I don’t suspect there will be 8 or 9 DT taken in R1. I could even see Sly Williams or Short slipping to R2 as other teams look to fill higher impact players from other positions.

    I like to see trends in past drafts and you can see that the most DT taken in the R1-2 was 8 in 2010. That bodes well that a decent one will be there for us.

  4. Rich says:

    I’d be surprised if Schneider wants to go into the draft with any glaring needs if he can avoid it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the check book opens up quite a bit if some of the veteran dlineman actually make it to unrestricted free agency. However, that remains to be seen. This guy sounds like one of those round 3-4 talents that goes 2nd round to someone hoping the gamble pays off.

    Incidentally, I’ve been going back over some of the previous drafts. Will someone please abduct the scout for the Bengals that keeps drafting really good dlineman? I mean they’ve seriously been cleaning up and they’ve been doing it after the first round.

  5. AlaskaHawk says:

    Montori Hughs, 325 pound DT is getting some buzz as a versatile player that showed well at the senior bowl practice. Projected as mid round pick. I think there are others out there- we just need to find them.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I hope the Seahawks don’t go for size over pass rush. These big guys who can move are all well and good, but we’ve had that with Alan Branch for two years. I’d love to see a prototype three-technique working in this scheme. Replacing Branch with another big guy seems a bit like shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I would consider ability and energy level instead of weight. A 350 pound man can collapse the pocket easier than a 300 pound man. But most don’t have the energy level to do it all game. Hence the 300 pound 3-tech. Bottom line is I don’t care about their weight as long as they get the job done.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think burst is the most integral thing for a three. They need to knife through gaps, judge the snap count. Alan Branch did a fine job for Seattle but he couldn’t pass rush because he didn’t have that explosion off the snap. Putting another monster at the three is, in my view, just asking for the same outcome.

          • JW says:

            I understand the speed issue, but if you can’t find a pure 3 tech, getting a wide body with good push who will consistently command a double team, and if your 1 tech and 5 tech also demand respect, that pocket is going to be sloppy and the Leo is going to have some shots. I’m not sure how much Branch commanded a double team. I wonder if there’s a paucity of 3 tech and it’s not solved in the draft, the hawks brass might think hard about going to a wide 9 and double three alignment more often in order to get more isolation shots. Their LBs are quick enough, Kam can handle the run, so it mitigates the run gashes somewhat. Might be worth revisiting the alignments in 3rd and long if they can’t satisfactorily address the personnel.
            I just don’t know how rigid Carroll is to this alignment or if he feels comfortable adapting in some conditions.

            • Rob Staton says:

              I think he’s pretty solidly in with this alignment, although we’ll find out more next season. It’s not a totally unrealistic proposition but I fear it’ll bring the same results. I quite like Jonathan Jenkins as a player and if we were looking for a nose to anchor a 3-4 I’d be all over it. Whether he would be able to collapse the pocket enough for a LEO to truly benefit, I’m sceptical. I think it’s unlikely but wouldn’t rule anything out.

              I’ll write a piece on this for Thursday.

              • JW says:

                great, I look forward to it.

                I agree on the collapsing the pocket wrt to speed. However, I can’t help but think that a LG going 1 on 1 with a 360 lb Jenkins would be hating life pretty fast, and would force the Center to cheat over, bringing Mebane some opportunities to sneak in behind him, or the T to keep a hand and foot over there. Basically, it seems you’d be creating mismatches via power with 3 heavies- that might not result in sacks individually but would create pressure and general mayhem, thus affecting the passing game. But I see the concerns for sure.

                I also worry about Red Bryant’s wheels. I know that’s not as pressing a need as a 3 tech, but he looked pretty hindered and never seemed right last season.

                My general concern over this 4-3U is you need 3 pretty unique guys, a 5t, a 3t, and a Leo. Maybe that’s the case with all modern systems, but it seems the alignment- while effective- puts you in a constant search for hard to find guys. I miss the old days of 2 DEs and 2 DTs!

                • AlaskaHawk says:

                  Our current scheme with LEO is intriguing until you find out there are only 1 or 2 players drafted per year that are capable of playing the position, that being a player over 250 pounds that is extremely quick and pursues like a hungry wolf. My gold standard is Clay Mathews but he also has a full time Job as a linebacker.

                  I guess I don’t see the LEO position as sustainable. It’s great when you find one, but extremely rare. It also depends on a lighter player going up against a large tackle without getting tired or injured. One injury defeats the whole scheme. There is a reason why most DE are in the 290 range.

                  • JW says:

                    Like every system it has strengths and weaknesses. Finding a 1 tech who can live on the edge, a Leo within the parameters you describe, and even harder- a 3 tech, is a scouting challenge.

                    It’s often said great coaches can adapt to their personnel. If we can’t ‘fix’ the personnel problems now faced with the 4-3U system (lack of 3tech and depth at leo), we may find out how great of a coach Carroll is.

              • peter says:

                I as well look forward to it. With the lack of 3-techs in the draft, a relatively small amount of D-tackles of any value above what we already have on the team coming to FA, I wonder if the Front Office has to be looking in slightly different directions in the draft.

  6. David says:

    Rob I know you’ve been saying we should go passrush DT, are there any DT that are good at pass rush and run defense? That can be an everydown player? Or is this years class generally one trick ponies?

    Thank you for your time, you and kip do an awesome job def my main place for my seahawks fix

  7. Scott says:

    I’ve been seeing NT Bennie Logan mocked to Seattle in the first, and described as a penetrating NT. Have you written anything about him, or do you have any impressions?

    Love the stuff you put out, thanks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      He’s just a guy. Nothing remotely special about his tape. I was extremely underwhelmed. Hardly ever in the backfield, not particularly brilliant against the run. Looks better than he should be in terms of physique. I think he’s a R3-4 level player.

  8. E says:

    Alex Okafor was in the practices, up until the last one, and did not play in the game:

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/01/former_alabama_quarterback_fin.html

  9. Hay stacker says:

    Rob, is there anyway that the jags don’t resign Terrance knighton and we can somehow get him? And what about Glenn Dorsey, he’s been considered a bust in KC but so was Clemons kinda up in Philly. Do you see us taking a look at Dorsey? He strikes me as the guy who wants a new team to prove that he’s not a bust.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I wouldn’t rule those moves out. Nothing about either guy makes me think they will be definite targets, but perhaps a change of scenery would benefit Dorsey? I still think Randy Starks will be the prime target.

  10. Zach says:

    Rob, is this possible?

    1. Datone Jones
    2. Khaseem Greene
    3. Jordan Reed

  11. Aaron says:

    Rob,

    Most would probably agree that a 3 tech pass rusher is our #1 need. Based on what I’ve seen on tape, and on what you’ve talked about here, I’m of the opinion that Sheldon Richardson would be the perfect player for the Hawks out of this draft (with the possible exception of linebacker Ogletree). You stated:

    “I’m increasingly sceptical that Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei will make it to #15, let alone #25.”

    My question is, do you think there’s a chance that Seattle would trade up that far (say anywhere from 7-12) in order to snag Richardson (or maybe Lotulelei)? And if so, what would we have to give up?

    What about something like #25, #55, and Matt Flynn to Buffalo for the #8 pick?

    Also, if they were able to move up that far, who they choose between Richardson, Lotulelei and Ogletree?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

    • Rob Staton says:

      To make a deal like that I think it will almost certainly take your 2014 first round pick.

      • Cade says:

        So would packaging 2 late first round picks be worth it to get a guy you would pick up potentially top 5 if you were in the position to do so?

        If they had enough belief in Richardson or Floyd it could be worth it since we have most our pieces in place already and great success drafting top talent in later rounds.

        What do you think Rob? Im not saying we should but im more curious about this line of thinking or where you think there is actually real value in a move like that.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I’m not crazy about the idea personally. If I thought it’d tip Seattle to a Super Bowl, then maybe. They’d have to judge that. But there have been so many unexpected busts at DT. It’s the hardest position to scout and judge. I’d be wary. Especially in a draft with such good depth in the first two rounds.

          • Senepol says:

            Other thing to consider is the whole “Win Forever” thing. PCJS are trying to build a team that is always in contention – not building up for one or two years with a shot. It’s awful hard to do that when you’re packaging top draft picks since you’ll be consistently losing good players to FA.

  12. John W says:

    Hi Rob, thanks for all you do on this blog! I am interested in your thoughts on Jesse Williams. I think he has the potential to be special but he might be best suited for a 34.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I agree he’s better suited to the 3-4 but in the 4-3 he’s more of a nose/one-technique. Great against the run, hard to shift. Plays stout. But offers very little penetration as a pass rusher.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      He is a guy who would be a definite upgrade to Alan Branch. He doesn’t pressure the QB much, mostly by design.

      What he does have, that Branch doesn’t, is the quickness and size and strength to back up both Mebane and Red Bryant. With the added benefit of being Red’s replacement down the line.

      Jesse started out as a DE/3 tech for Alabama. His sack numbers are mundane. I do think there is potential to be a 3 with him. One, he’s played it before and would have done so this year too. He was moved to the 1, because Alabama didn’t have a 1T after Chapman went pro.

      In Carroll parlance, Jesse does several things exceptionally well, which should make him an option at 25.

      1. Strength. He is massively strong. The day he’s drafted, he’ll be one of the top 3 players in the NFL in terms of sheer strength.

      2. Excellent Leverage. His pad level is remarkable. Elite leverage and Elite strength. These two combinations rarely are exhibited in tandem.

      3. Ability to disengage and make plays. He is one of the best I’ve seen at being able to shuck a block and make the play. He’s not a guy that occupies blockers. He’s a guy who stuffs blockers and gets the assist in either gap he protects. Additionally, he is a guy who seemingly always is able to get his hands up to swat passes. He just has an innate sense of when to break off the push and get up to close passing windows. If you watch his tape watch how reliably he gets off his feet to restrict passes.

      4. Ability to develop. This is a guy who has transitioned pretty seamlessly between every position other than LEO that we have. He was a pretty raw prospect when he arrived in 2011 out of JUCO. He developed significantly in his short 2 years at Alabama.

      This is a guy who will become much more than he is on draft day. This is going to be a division where toughness matters. Jesse ups our ante in the smash mouth game significantly. He is a guy who has demonstrated the ability to play with significant pain. He is a guy whose weight can and has been managed based on role and need. It’s easy to look at 2012 tape and see a guy who is just a 1T/NT. But he was made to be that intentionally at the behest of the team.

      This guy has a lot of gifts that the Seahawks would be lucky to have. I do believe he’s a straight up upgrade to Alan Branch against the pass. His bull rush is devastating and he does collapse the pocket by driving guards into their QB’s faces. He would need to be able to do more than that at the NFL level. That’s uncertain if he can do that or not.

      But realistically, that’s uncertain for most DT prospects we’ll see available at 25. Out of the box, he’s a long term Red Bryant successor, a primary back up for both Mebane and Bryant and he can slightly upgrade our base 3T position.

      For him to be selected, it would need to be because Pete and John see something that can be made of him that we don’t see on his tape. He has undeniable gifts, but pass rush ability is not one of them. They would need to see the spark of possibility in order to pull the trigger on him. Given his other skills, if that were to come to pass, one could easily see Jesse as one of those guys who when you look back on the draft a couple years later, you see was the best DT of the class despite being part of the 2nd/3rd tier prospect. It happens with such regularity and randomness that it’s hard to predict. But I do think Pete/John have a keen eye for finding guys like that.

  13. Stuart says:

    Great thoughts Aaron. Based on the history of what Atlanta paid to move up from 27 to 6 to draft Julio Jones it likely will take alot more than that. Unless Buffalo values Matt Flynn as high as we do, douthful though. Despite the cost it would seem to come down to Richardson and Lotulelei. I love Ogletree too but not at those prices. But if JS views him as elite and would dump the nickle packages because of him then I guess you would have to include his name wouldnt you?

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks Stuart,

      Wow, now that I see what Atlanta gave up (5 draft picks, including 2 first rounders) it seems highly unlikely PC/JS would go that route. Maybe if Richardson or Ogletree fall to the #15-18 range we could swing it.

  14. Stuart says:

    Rob, thank you for your keen insight into the William’s DT’s. I see Brandon and R-4 and Sylvester as R-2. My question is this; supposse the Hawks sign a FA DT (Starks?) to be our 3 tech starter next season, would you re-sign Branch or Jones and would you still select a DT in the R-1?

    Bummer to here that Okafor did not impress at the Senior Bowl. If DT is solved in the off-season would you go DE in R-1?

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      If they get Starks in free agency they could cut Branch and use his salary for Starks. Then if Jones can rehab his knee and some other players step up. We could always draft another DL first round, even with Starks. That would be awesome.

      And let’s keep picking receivers- we need more weapons. Has there been a write up on the guy we got from Arizona? I would be happy to trade Flynn for a decent receiver.

      • David says:

        Branch is an UFA so we dont have to cut him.

        If we do get a DT in free agency, I find myself really interested in a WR Cordarelle Patterson, raw but I think it’d be someone Wilson can grow with and help tap his potential

      • Colin says:

        John Clayton seems pretty certain the Bears will tag Henry Melton.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d try and keep Branch if possible – good rotational guy and a possible replacement for Bryant if he gets injured. I don’t think the Jones experiment worked particularly well and maybe that money could go on a different rusher — perhaps another edge rusher if Clemons is a doubt.

  15. Ryan says:

    What about Travis Long from Washington State as a potention mid round guy who could play the LEO position? He seams like a pefect fit for the position.

  16. Christon says:

    I really hope Kawaan Short is still on the board at #25. Although I’m hearing a lot of people say that this DT class is “loaded” I don’t see it with the 3 technique were the Hawks have a need. There will be good pass catcher options available in the second and LBs later due to “positional value.” We could also get a WR or/and LB in free agency. I don’t see Melton being available and I don’t see anyone else as being as effective as Kawaan Short could be when he puts his mind to it.

    • David says:

      Eric Williams of the news tribune had a very good article and was talking about why the hawks wouldnt bring in a big name WR option (Mike wallace, Dwayne bowe, etc.) He basically said he doesnt see them doing so do to the lack of targets theyd get aconsidering how much the hawks throw it. they do throw it but not nearly enough to give it to Rice, Tate Miller and a big name WR

      i know you didnt mention any or say it would but i just assume they draft a WR and sign a DT and a OLB if theres one, but im wondering if they put Smith or even Toomer in there, thats competitiion there along with Morgan. i see them going DT or even WR and maybe some later round depth for different positions. maybe package picks and move up in the 2nd.

      also like the idea of J. Howard and the thought of him

      GOhawks

  17. cade says:

    Id love to see the Hawks trade up in the second and pick up any combo of Ertz, Short or Greene in the Late First rd and Early second round pick.

  18. dave crockett says:

    I think Seattle can make a fairly straightforward case for adding some beef up front in the first round.

    a) None of our base defensive linemen have adequate backups or replacement plans. That unit wore down through injury (Red) and over-use (Mebane and Branch). By mid-season teams were running on our base defense and we were pretty mediocre against the run by the end of the season. For all the talk of pass rush failures in the ATL game, we gave up tons of cheap field position on drive-sustaining runs to Turner, Snelling, and Rodgers.

    b) We could legitimately strike out on 3-techniques in free agency and in the first round. Although it looks like Starks will be available there’s no guarantee he ends up in Seattle. Melton will almost certainly be tagged. After those two, you’re gambling on impact players.

    c) Either of the Williamses or even Jenkins has a clear role, and could be well worth first round $ in that role. They can play the 1-tech and don’t need to be day one starters.

    I don’t want to ignore the pass rush. But, legit 3-techs are hard to find without a high pick. We do have a couple players with some upside (Scruggs and Howard) who may yet develop. On the flip side we really don’t have a real backup (or replacement plan) for Red, Mebane or Branch.

    • Rob Staton says:

      All very strong points. I’m going to do a piece on Thursday to get this debate going… looking at the possibility of taking a non-three technique DT in R1.