So here’s the thing: Tim Williams is #good.
One of the more interesting prospects in this year’s class, Williams was primarily a pass rusher at Alabama, and more so a rotational player than a starter, per se. That’s not a common thing to say about someone who’s being considered a potential Top 10 talent.
The weird thing about Williams is that he never was really allowed to play a full-time role with the Crimson Tide although continually showing that he was entirely able to do so. The exact details about why Williams was always seemingly in Coach Nick Saban’s proverbial doghouse have never been disclosed, but rumors have speculated that is has something to do with a plant that’s smoked recreationally, despite it being illegal in the United States. I’ll let you put 2 and 2 together.
However, when he’s on the field, Williams is a dynamic talent. Possibly the most talented defender on a Crimson Tide defense that could have up to 4-5 first round picks on it. Essentially a Nickel pass rusher extraordinaire, Williams has also shown the ability to effectively play the run. Against LSU this past season, Williams was a major part in Leonard Fournette having his second straight stinker of a game against the Alabama defense.
While Williams is far from a finished product, there are some things that he does well that are absolutely NFL ready.
An offensive tackles’ butt should be like a camera looking at the quarterback. Here, Williams has forced Chad Wheeler to bail on his pass set, and his butt is facing the sideline. This gives Williams a two-way-go on his pass rush. However, this isn’t even the most impressive part of this pass rush.
While this rep didn’t end in a sack (which it probably should have looking at the tackles), Williams exhibits the hip and ankle flexion needed to “bend the edge” and flatten his path to the quarterback. Stiffer hipped pass rushers will get ran farther up field due to their inability to flip their hips and shorten their path for a sack. Williams exhibiting this trait is enough to get excited.
Williams is also proficient in the run game, although his 6’4” 237 lb frame isn’t quite the prototypical body type to succeed on the edge.
LSU was probably Williams’ most complete game during the 2016 season.
With Fournette headed to the right side on the play, Williams does a nice job of resetting the line of scrimmage, and making Fournette make a decision prematurely. With his hands inside, Williams is able to control the offensive lineman and dictate where Fournette goes.
This is a textbook example of Williams controlling the offensive lineman, making the running back make a decision, and then making that decision wrong, allowing the rest of the pursuit to rally to the ball.
I believe that, given the opportunity, Williams can be an effective run defender, likely as an outside linebacker in an odd front. Unless he puts on some major mass, he’s likely not going to have his hand in the dirt other than on 3rd downs.
Other than the off-field issues, the only thing that I find odd is Williams’ upright stance. He’s the only player I’ve ever seen that lines up with his inside foot forward on the line of scrimmage. It’s not taught that way, so I don’t know if it is just instinctual at this point, or if Alabama knows something that the rest of do not, but it will be something that will have to be coached into Williams at the next level.
As a fit on the Packers, like in my Post-Senior Bowl Mock, Williams would be an excellent addition to the Packers’ pass rush. He’s a dynamic athlete who would wreak havoc on the edge in Dom Capers’ defense. While it’s unknown as to how far Williams could drop in the first round due to the “off-field issues”, it’s unlikely that the Packers would target him due to these past occurrences, recent history with Letroy Guion and Mike Pennel displays that Thompson, and the rest of the Packers’ front office is willing to take chances on “troublemakers” from time to time.
In this instance, I hope the Packers take the gamble on Williams, if the opportunity were to present itself.