Photo of Duke Williams
Drafted By: Bills
  • Round 4
  • Pick 8
  • Overall 105

Combine Results

Grade
67.7 ?
  • 4.52 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 13 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 37.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 126.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 4.00 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He's a gifted kid. He's had some off-the-field issues or he would have been drafted higher than this. He's a special-teams player. He can close in on the football. He just has to watch his temper." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'0" Height
  • 190LBS. Weight

Overview

Michael “Duke” Williams grew up in Reno, and decided to suit up for his hometown Wolf Pack instead of going to higher-profile programs Southern California and Boise State. Not only was he a three-time all-state selection at safety for Hug High School, but he helped the basketball and track and field teams win titles (he excelled in sprints and the high jump). That athleticism and his YouTube-friendly big hits have already caught the eyes of NFL scouts –- which means he’ll get a chance to experience living outside Nevada for the first time when he shows up for his rookie training camp.



Coaches didn’t waste time getting the local star on the field; he played 11 games, with one start, as a true freshman (29 tackles). Then Williams showed flashes of his playmaking ability by playing in every game in 2010 (10 starts, 74 tackles, 4.5 for loss, two interceptions, four pass break-ups, two forced fumbles) before becoming a second-team All-WAC pick as a junior, starting every game and racking up 83 tackles, 4.5 for loss, an interception and six pass breakups. This year, as a senior, Williams recorded 105 tackles (5.5 for loss), one interception, nine pass breakups and three forced fumbles. His play lead him to a second-team All-Mountain West selection.

Analysis

Strengths

Sprinter background becomes obvious when watching him close to the sideline on running backs or track down the ball while it’s in the air. Physicality not typical of sprinter, relishes the chance to pound the shoulder or mid-section of ballcarriers after coming across the field. Fills a gap in the run games even if starting the play in a cover-two alignment due to his recognition and reaction abilities. His athleticism helps him break down in the open field and his length aids him drag them to the ground, making him a reliable open-field tackler. Another important component of Williams' game is that he shows great balance in coverage, showcasing a smooth back-pedal, and fluid hips. Shows the hands to make difficult interception, as well.

Weaknesses

Like many aggressive college safeties, gets sucked up by play action. Needs to prove his average size is enough to handle the strength and speed of larger pro receivers in coverage; often lines up against slot receivers, showing good agility but also manhandling them (which will draw a flag at the next level) down the field, especially if he gets tripped up on their first move. Has had multiple off-field issues while playing in his hometown, as well, including arrests for underage possession of alcohol (November 2009) and driving with a suspended license and without insurance after being in a car accident (December 2011).

NFL Comparison

Chris Crocker

Bottom Line

The Reno native has become a hometown favorite for the Wolf Pack, earning second-team All-WAC honors as a junior, and second-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior. Williams is able to use his sprinter’s speed and nice agility to negate receivers downfield. He also has experience in man assignments versus slot players. While Williams' doesn't possess a large build, he is more than willing to throw his body around with impunity. His average size, overaggressive nature, and off-field incidents might limit how high teams will be willing to take him, but there are many aspects to his game that should still have him selected relatively early.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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