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.


– 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

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey Clement

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

  • Spencer Krick

    The marijuana incident is a bit concerning, still, I think i’d be willing to roll those dice. Has a lot of tools to succeed at the next level. His effort on run plays seems. . . off.

    That aside, I don’t think he makes it to 30.

  • Peter MacDonald

    NFL NEEDS to move on from guys smoking some pot. They’re using drugs anyway. Pills can be far more harmful.

  • Nolrog

    >>> The bag of marijuana belonged to a friend of Williams, but you have to wonder about Williams’ off field influences.Bryant said the same thing. Wasn’t me, belongs to a friend.

  • Spencer Krick

    So much this. There isn’t a human being alive that believes it actually belonged to his friend, so I doubt an NFL scout buys that story.

  • Steelers12

    been saying this for years

  • Steelers12

    im not a fan

  • BallHandling Hooker

    I wouldn’t go near him, even in the 40th round. The comparisons to Randy Gregory are enough to put me off. Even if you think the NFL is overly harsh on weed users, which they are – Williams and Gregory are on another level which suggests huge immaturity.

  • Spencer Krick

    What are some of the comparisons to Randy Gregory?

  • falconsaftey43

    His drug issues have been compared to those of Gregory.

  • PaeperCup

    He’s supposedly a top 10 talent that might fall to us at 30 due to the off field stuff….

    But man, we are the last team that should dabble in players with those kind of issues. Really unfortunate.

  • WB Tarleton

    Just because marijuana and a guy’s name is in the same sentence does not make him comparable to Gregory.

    Gregory failed two tests at Nebraska and then at the combine.

    Williams being found with the weed is a yellow light but not the same. Do due diligence and interview him thoroughly, psychological tests, etc.

    I’m more worried about the handgun.

  • srdan

    Sign me up. I think he is in the top five prospects of the whole draft.

    Now if he falls to 30 you have to wonder about the off field stuff. If he didn’t have any of those, he would be challenging the top 5.

    What I’m saying is if he falls to 30, there are serious concerns there. And I’m not sure we have the lockeroom to handle that anymore.

    But at 30, you could say that is a second round pick at that point. Might as well try to get a top 5 talent on a superbowl contender.

    I’ll trust the FO. They’ve been more right than wrong. Drafting MB in the fourth was a good move.

  • WB Tarleton

    Will never happen until it is legal. And, it is still illegal even in places like Colorado. Just because people have not been enforcing Federal law does not make it legal.

  • Clutterbox

    This guy is obviously very quick and has great handwork/technique. He is definitely has 1st round talent and I wouldn’t mind the Steelers rolling the dice on him. However, it appears that Steelers are staying away from player with red flags recently. I think it will depend on their interview process. I know a lot of people will compare him to Randy Gregory, but I don’t think Gregory was as nearly as good or talented as Tim Williams. Marcus Peters had multiple red flags in college and was highly regarded. Right now, he being touted as one of the best cb in the league.

    Also I would like Steelers to look at Alabama other LB, Ryan Anderson. He is not as quick as Williams, but it good in the pass and the run along with a good motor too.

  • falconsaftey43

    I’m not suggesting it does. But it was reported by one of the Walterfootball guys, that his NFL sources were saying that they believe him to have drug problems of that nature.

  • 20Stoney

    I agree with you completely, but they can’t as long as it’s an illegal drug.

  • Daniel Valente

    Yes, Walter Football reported that but let’s wait to see if more comes out. A source once said AB was purposely running the wrong routes as well. Let’s wait for the bigger picture to develop.


    State law trumps…pardon the pun.

  • Spencer Krick

    Well, I can only comment on the one incident I know of. The interview process is definitely going to be a big deal for Williams. If he does fail test after test, I will agree to stay away from him.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I like him alot! Watched him all year! He’ll have to kick a hobo to drop to us tho… I wouldn’t mind trading up because I know his potential. Don’t think he makes it past pick 20.


    Off the field issues are a concern for sure, and after seeing Bryant lose a season over weed, I don’t blame you, but I think you have to dig deeper because a lot of these players have flaws not associated with football.

    How many failed test did he have at Bama? Is this a habitual thing or was it an isolated issue…my point is more questions need to be asked of this kid, and I’m certain they will be asked.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think the major question here is….will he be there when we pick?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Was just going to make the comment that this is one prospect not to worry about cause he will not be available

  • Ike Evans

    Its likely

  • Ike Evans

    As athletic and explosive as tim is…..i didnt see much hip flexibility when turning the corner on the edge….ryan anderson may not be as good a pass rusher but he can bend around the corner and close……that being said….literally the only critique i have on this kid on film

  • falconsaftey43

    well actually they can. There is nothing that obligates them to test for drug use.

  • steelburg

    I saw the same report and I wouldn’t touch this guy because of it. I believe these reports a lot more because college teams do this kid of stuff. They will leak stuff about players who they know won’t be back.

  • 20Stoney

    I almost went back and changed “can’t” to “won’t” right after I made the post, and then I thought, “no, nobody’s going to split hairs like that.” I guess I should have followed my first instinct! LOL

  • LucasY59

    I think the pre-draft research the teams will do could hurt him, I have heard/ read there might be more than what is already known, and have a feeling they might dig up even more stuff

    I am not against giving guys second chances, but I would not use a 1st rd pick on a player with off the field issues (especially at OLB this draft since it is such an important position/need to fill)

  • LucasY59

    there are definitely other guys I like better, so I hope he gets picked before #30 and pushes those guys to the Steelers pick

  • WB Tarleton

    Ever read the constitution? You may want to. Look up “Supremacy Clause.”

    Federal law “trumps” state law. Those smoking and selling pot in Colorado and other places are committing criminal acts.


    Didn’t get past #2, but duly noted….The Feds will eventually be going after half the states then.

  • LucasY59

    I usually want the Steelers to stay away from Bama players (and so far that has happened) they just usually have a ton of hype and VERY FEW end up living up to it, the few I liked enough that I would be ok with the Steelers taking (mainly Landon Collins and Donta Hightower) have done well, but plenty of the others have been busts (especially the ones that go to the ravens, so my hope is that Williams goes early to them and does what the previous Bama guys have done in baltimore (other than Mosely) …terrance cody, courtney upshaw etc)

    If there was one Bama guy that I wanted this yr it would be OJ Howard, instead of benefiting from the talent around him, he made them better (while the team underutilized his talents) I dont think the team needs a 1st rd TE, but if they picked him I wouldnt be upset (especially if the OLBs that are still available arent that good) Howard could easily be BPA at pick #30

  • LucasY59

    I agree, and also like Anderson better than Williams, Ryan seems to play more angry (which could be a good thing since the only guy I think the Steelers currently have that plays that way is Cam, Mitchell plays with emotion/hype and some violence, but I wouldnt call it anger, even Deebo has settled down from his early yrs) I dont really want either of the Bama guys (especially with the 1st pick) but have a feeling they will be on the radar and if either one becomes a Steeler I will trust the FO and hope they play well for the Steelers

  • Clutterbox

    There are like over 35 former Alabama players in the league currently. I’m not sure any other school has that many. They also had the most pro bowl player this season alone (6).

    Amari Cooper, Dont’a Hightower, C.J. Mosley, Julio Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins.

    Jones might be the arguably one for the best receiver in the game along with Cooper. Collins might win DPoY this year.

    Yes, some of their player didn’t pan out, but I have to say that they produce more than any other college.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Looks thin ala Jarvis….

  • Steve

    Nice breakdown Daniel, appreciate the time spent putting together a swell article.

    In the 2nd Gif, Bama was caught in a stunt, which was not Williams fault.

    The 3rd gif was run up the gut, also not william’s fault. William’s job is to set the edge, which he does in the 4th gif.

  • Applebite

    Rather have the young gun over there at Youngstown St…

  • LucasY59

    most of the really good NFL players are the ones that were top ten talents (and have never been a realistic chance to be a Steelers draft pick) my point wasnt to say that none of them have talent, they are a college dynasty and that doesnt happen without superstar players, but there are also a lot of guys that benefit from the collective talent the team has (as well as the college talent they are playing against) the SEC is good, but once they get in the NFL all the teams have Bama equivalent talent and its only the elite talent that stands out after that, the guys that make it to the mid to late 1st rd (but are considered 1st rd because of the school they played at, are the ones that struggle) if they were 2nd rd guys then the talent and investment start to even out, but overhyped (not true 1st rd talent) from Bama happens almost every draft (to go along with the truly elite college teammates) also that doesnt mean that those players are terrible, just that the draft value is off, most would be great value as a 2nd or 3rd rdr, but most are taken earlier than that

  • Aj Gentile

    I’ve read from some draft guys on twitter that his red flags go beyond arrest incident. But then again he wasn’t suspend

  • Daniel Valente

    Thanks for reading Steve. Noticed the stunt on the 2nd gif. Not saying the resulting play was Williams’ fault just that he will need an added bend in his rush in order to better his repertoire.

  • steelers_26

    For me the real deal is Derek Barnett and no one else

  • steelers_26

    He is already 24 years old too

  • Steve

    Sounds like you got some good tips from Alex. Keep up the good work. Will be looking forward to reading the write ups.

  • Daniel Valente

    Yes, Alex & the staff are beyond great.
    Thanks again Steve, I look forward to writing them for you and the readers.

  • falconsaftey43

    Haha, sorry. I actually think it will be removed on next CBA. League will stop testing for pot, and they’ll have 18 game season or whatever the league wants.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My First Official Mock Draft This Year

    1. Carl Lawson Edge Rusher Auburn- He has a couple of different moves to get at the QB and does it well. He seems to be strong enough to hold the point of attack. His only major negative is his injury history. AR2 has made his statement….we need more consistant pressure and Lawson will help bring this.
    2. Patrick Mahomes QB Texas Tech- Great presence in the pocket with great touch. Does a good job of progressions. Can do a better job of setting feet and needs work on his long ball. The other thing that was evident by AR2 was his assertion that we need better depth at the QB position and I have a sneaky feeling Bens replacement which is why the 2nd round pick.
    3. Damonte Kazee CB San Diego St- Instinctive, quick, can tackle and has a nasty demeanor. His downside is he is a little bit smaller then you like. With the way the Patriots treated us we see more secondary help is needed. A aging Gay and questions with Golson and Gilbert make this a bigger need then thought.
    4. Jarron Jones DL Notre Dame- Quick off the snap and has power to push double teams. Sometimes take himself out of plays. The need to find quality depth to spell Cam and Tuitt is evident late in games when are defense shows an inability to get off the field. A guy like Jones give you quality depth to help keep the starters fresh
    5a. Matthew Dayes HB NC State- Short, squatty kinda guy but he has quickness and power while running the ball, can catch it out of the back field and does a good job of blocking on pass protection. At sometime you would think we will try and find some new blood to back up Bell as Williams age has to become an issue and Toussaint is just a guy.
    5b. Ejuan Price Edge Rusher Pittsburgh- Athletic kid that can get around the edge in a hurry. Is shorter than you like at the position and did not see him fall back in coverage. The Steelers like to take chances on edge guys late in the draft on smaller athletic edge rushers and Price fits the bill.
    6. Jaylen Reeves Maybin ILB Tennessee- Very athletic and can get through the muck to make plays, can cover TE’s and HB’s. Smaller guy whose season was cut short from injury. Listed as a OLB but played what looks like a hybrid type role for the Vols. See him splitting time at ILB with either Williams or Timmons if still on the team where Jaylen will be in on passing downs.
    7. Cethan Carter TE Nebraska- Athletic TE with good hands and shows good effort in blocking. Wasn’t used a whole lot in the Cornhusker offense as a pass catcher but he looks like a dynamic player. Was scouting mostly just blocking TE’s however with the questions still hovering over Green and Grimble not stepping up the need for a move TE increases.

    This is what I consider my first major mock. As more information is dropping down on what we will be looking at doing will refine my mocks.

  • Lucious Myers

    I like is teammate Ryan Anderson more for us.

  • popsiclesticks

    Walterfootball also reported that Jameis Winston would be too involved in the Tampa strip club scene. I like their mocks for the most part but that Walter guy is horrible at things like this (and on his betting picks too).

  • Zuami Montanez

    I think he could develop to be a really good player, shoot if he’s available when its our turn to pick we should get him.

  • Michael James

    Thing is, if you want to have a solid OLB who will never be more than a mediocre pass-rusher (and without off-the-field issues), you take Anderson. But if you want to find your next superstar edge-rusher, you take someone else. I like Anderson, but I just don’t see the upside for the next level.

  • Gerald Brown

    Everything you said about weed being illegal is correct, but I think the NFL will eventually move on from guys smoking pot by simply not testing for it. Similar to how the NBA does it.

  • Ike Evans

    You know its funny you say that because ryan anderson kinda reminds me of markus golden from missouri (who also played across from a more touted guy with off the field issues in college) and i said the same thing about golden as your saying about anderson…hes certainly outplayed my expectations of him….still not in that superstar category but highly productive in arizona

  • Jon Crissinger

    Yep, the CSA has been a Federal Law since 1970. Allowing “legal” use of marijuana in states is in direct conflict with our Constitution until the federal law is repealed and reformed. Still odd this is coming up on a Steelers blog haha