Jul 25, 2013; Owings Mills, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams (98) walks off the field after training camp at the Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Williams: Man in the Middle

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After being drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Brandon Williams has entered his 2nd year in the NFL in the best shape of his life and poised for a breakout season. Williams was limited by a toe injury during his rookie season and finished the season with six tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery while only playing in seven games.

Defensive tackle is a position that demands a very rare combination of strength and agility which Williams possess and has improved on in the offseason.  “I love it, it’s fun,” Williams told Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson “It’s football. I’ve been playing [nose tackle] since eighth grade, and it just fits. I’m stocky and short, but it’s a great position. It also gets Haloti on the edge and rushing the passer a little bit and takes double-teams away from him, and I’m happy to have him. So, it’s good to be the nose guard.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams was graded out as the fourth-best defensive tackle/nose tackle through the first three games of preseason.

Moving Williams to the middle of the defense at nose guards enables the Ravens to move Ngata to the outside where he will be more of a force getting to the quarterback. With a rotation of Canty, Jernigan and Tyson at the other end position, the Ravens should have a much improved defensive line, while Williams has the chance to make himself a staple on the Ravens defense for years to come.

Coming into the 2014 season, Williams is in the best shape of his life after cutting his body fat percentage from 28-30% all the way down to 22% and added muscle that will be necessary for all the grueling work that comes with shedding blocks and double teams.

The difference from last year in terms of athleticism and on field performance has been night and day as he is noticeably more of a force in the middle.

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams was graded out as the fourth-best defensive tackle/nose tackle through the first three games of preseason. His +6.4 rating rank only behind Gerald McCoy +16.7, Landon Cohen +7.7 and Zach Kerr’s +7.0

He was most impressive when playing against Washington, week 3 of the preseason, where he had five tackles, including two for losses, and a quarterback hit. Williams showcased his combination of mobility and power which should have the Ravens very excited for the future.

Baltimore desperately needs the young talent on this defense to step up and return the unit to being a dominant force in the NFL. Ravens fans everywhere should be very excited about the future for Brandon Williams as he has the potential to reach several Pro Bowls and be a nightmare for opposing offenses for many years to come.

Here is what they are saying about the young nose tackle:

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