The latest draft rumors are in, and the Ravens have popped up for the first time in a while. This time they have been linked to Alabama DT Jesse Williams.
The report states that “several” scouts for teams picking late in the first round are turning in mid-late first round grades for Williams and the word is that two of those scouts were from the 49ers and the Ravens(picking 31 and 32 respectively). both teams could use a player on the defensive line and have repeatedly been mocked players like Sam Montgommery, Margus hunt, Jonathan Hankins and even Sylevestor Williams, but one name that hasn’t popped up as often is Jesse Williams, who was believed by most to be a second round talent.
I have been pretty high on Williams for a while, and now it looks like the mainstream media is about to catch up (maybe they will join me in grading Margus Hunt as a mid second rounder instead of a first rounder soon). I have Williams as my 5th rated Defensive tackle behind Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei(who could still fall due to his heart testing issues), Sheldon Richardson and Kawaan Short. I see Williams as a player who should be taken between 17 and 25. If you were wondering where Hunt fell since i commented on him, he is my 12th ranked DE(I love his athleticism and upside, but I hate his tape).
Williams would be a pretty good fit for the Ravens as a nose tackle, which the desperately need. He has a good body for the position(6’3″ 324 lbs) but he does have short arms(just over 32″). Short arms isnt a deal breaker, but it is something to note. The plus side is that Williams is incredibly strong, he was among the top performers in the bench press at the combine, but he plays even stronger than that routinely just shoving interior lineman out of his way. I have seen Williams take a guard completely off his feet with his initial burst off of the snap. anytime you can blow up a 340 lb player so badly they actually leave the ground, you are impressively strong. Williams is actually pretty polished as a two gap defender despite only having played football for just a few years. He is an Australia native who has years of Rugby experience under his belt, but didnt start playing football until he came to the states .Williams isnt as safe a pick as a guy like John Jenkins of Georgia, who has prototype everything but doesnt have a ton of room to grom, but he might have the highest ceiling of any defensive lineman in this draft. Making that idea particularly impressive is the fact that this is the deepest and most talented defensive line draft in years.
For anyone concerned about the Terrance Cody flop pick, remember that Williams is a vastly different player than Cody is. Williams doesn’t have the same weight issues and is incredibly athletic for his size. Williams is also significantly more talented than Cody, if I put Cody in this class, i doubt he would end up better than a 4th round pick because this draft is so deep compared to the draft Cody came out in.