2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Alabama EDGE Tim Williams

As you should know by now, our attention has now shifted to the 2017 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in while a few others will play top-ranked players.

This is a showcase of Alabama edge rusher Tim Williams.

Alabama EDGE Tim Williams #56 6’4 252 lbs

The Good:

– Explosiveness: Williams’ is very agile and explosive off the snap, always giving himself the opportunity to be in position to make a play. William’s first step off the snap is a nightmare for opposing offensive lineman.
– Motor: Do not be fooled by Williams’ limited snaps as a pass rusher, Williams’ contains the motor to play full speed for the duration of 60 minutes.
– Speed: Williams’ showcases an already above average speed move for an outside linebacker. Multiple times Williams can be seen blowing right by the opposing offensive tackle.
– Handwork: Williams’ assets do not stop with just a speed move, as Williams’ ability to use his hands to swim and rip across a lineman’s face is top of his class.
– Flexibility: As a pass rusher, Williams showed that he is comfortable both with his hand in the dirt and standing up.

The Bad:

– Run Defense: Not a major weakness as Williams’ did show some bright spots against LSU, but there is definitely room for improvement for Williams’ on run defense.
– Coverage: More of a question mark rather than a weakness here. Being used solely for pass rushing leaves a question of whether Williams’ can drop back or cover a running back if drafted by a 3-4 defense.
– Off Field: Perhaps the biggest stain on William’s profile. William’s was arrested in September for having a handgun without a permit and carrying a bag of marijuana. The bag of marijuana belonged to a friend of Williams, but you have to wonder about Williams’ off field influences.

Bio:

– 2016 season: 31 tackles, 16 TFL, 9.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
– Second Team All-America Selection by AP and Sports Illustrated
– All-SEC Second Team Selection by Conference Coaches and AP
– Off Field: Arrested last September for carrying handgun without a permit

Tape Breakdown:

If you want to know why Williams’ is one of the more polished pass rushers of this year’s draft, just take a look at his rip move. No better example than the one below, which shows Williams’ nifty rip move against the Tennessee offensive tackle that had the unfortunate task of blocking him.

Williams’ quick first outside step is enough to open the tackle up that when Williams’ unleashes his strong hands to swim across the tackle’s face, the tackle is left looking like a revolving door. Williams’ swim move is the linebacker’s bread and butter and shows a great understanding of different ways to get to the quarterback.

Many college linebackers often rely on their speed to run by lesser quality tackles. But then once these linebackers hit the NFL, they come to a realization that running by their opposition is just not going to cut it. Williams’ like the many before him has great athleticism and a great speed move.

While Williams’ speed move is a good foundation, there is some room for polish. Here is Williams against Clemson in last year’s National Championship Game, watch how Williams’ is not only pushed out of the pocket but pushed out of the play.

Just like the play above, Williams’ will need to know that his speed move will be handled similarly in the NFL. Fortunately for Williams, it is easier to add on to an asset rather than fix a broken one. With a little more bend on his speed moves, Williams could get around offensive tackles with ease and develop into an All-Pro pass rusher in the NFL.

Williams’ run defense is a hot debate, simply because there is not much on tape. Alabama used Williams almost strictly as a pass rusher, leaving many question marks about the linebacker’s ability to set the edge or hold his own against the run.

The truth lies somewhere in between when it comes to Williams’ run defense. Is Williams’ as bad as made to seem against the run? No, not at all. Is Williams’ an automatic plug in as a three-down player? No, not yet. The truth is that Williams’ has shown growth in his run defense capabilities as the season progressed.

Here is a play from earlier in the season where Williams’ was unable to get off a block allowing the USC running back to gash the Alabama defense for a big gain.

But now take a look at the progression I spoke about in the latter paragraph. Here is Williams’ later in the season, setting the edge against the LSU running back Leonard Fournette. (Williams is located on the left side of the line.)

As soon as Fournette decides to try to run outside, he is met by Williams. Williams’ key play to set the edge here forces Fournette back inside where he is immediately swarmed by multiple Alabama defenders. Williams was part of a collective effort that saw Fournette limited to just 35 rushing yards. It is performances and plays like those above that show promise in Williams’ ability to develop into a three-down linebacker at the next level.

Overall, Williams’ is an extremely talented outside linebacker with many great skills and tools. Williams’ possesses a great swim move fueled by great speed and explosiveness, while also being on his way to being a capable run defender. Williams’ size and athleticism will leave him heavily sought on draft day. The only reason why Williams would not be pursued early would be his off-field issues, which are hopefully a thing of the past.

Projection: Day One

Games Watched: At Tennessee, vs Clemson, at LSU, vs USC, vs Texas A&M

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About the Author

Daniel Valente
Steelers fan from birth, spending majority of my free time looking up statistics. Had the honor of meeting Mike Vanderjagt shortly after his infamous missed field goal in the 2005 Divisional Round. Currently pursuing a Journalism degree. Follow me on Twitter @StatsGuyDaniel