Photo of Sylvester Williams
Drafted By: Broncos
  • Round 1
  • Pick 28
  • Overall 28

Combine Results

Grade
80.6 ?
  • 5.03 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 27 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 26.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 102.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.93 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.80 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"That makes sense to me. This is a kid that can immediately come in and start at defensive tackle. He can stay in the game on sub packages. With what they have inside, I think he's going to be a rotational guy that will get a lot of production." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'3" Height
  • 33 1/2" Arm Length
  • 313LBS. Weight
  • 10 3/4" Hands

Overview

Williams only played one season in high school and wasn't on anyone's radar as a recruit. But after working at a factory for a while post-graduation and seeing similarly sized players on the field at a Kansas game, Williams realized he could go to college using his natural size and ability on the football field.


He walked on at Coffeyville Community College, and by the time he finished his second season (honorable mention JC All-American with 12.5 tackles for loss and five blocked kicks), several major college programs were hot on his trail. Williams decided on Chapel Hill, immediately entering the starting lineup in 2011. His 54 tackles, seven for loss and 2.5 sacks made him stand out even with the great talent along the Tar Heels' defensive line. In 2012, Williams registered six sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 12 games played.

Analysis

Strengths

Wide-body nose tackle with an unexpected bit of quickness off the snap. Has girth through the middle that makes him tough to move when he looks to anchor. Keeps his eyes in the backfield and locates the ball well (and will sniff out the occasional screen). Uses strong hands and upper body to rip past and push aside lesser linemen. Good flexibility and balance, showing the ability to bend and roll his hips through contact off the ball and keep a wide base to anchor against base blocks and doubles. Violent tackler, will throw ballcarriers to the ground. Has enough short-area quickness to charge through the A-gap off the snap. Spins off blocks when moving forward to threaten hesitating quarterbacks or get a hand on running backs in the backfield. Can two-gap, moves to either side of his man to corral backs coming between the tackles. Shows good leverage, pad level, and hand quickness to split double teams. When fresh, he will chase a bit more than most players his size against the run as well as give a second effort if his initial pass rush move fails.

Weaknesses

Lacks closing speed to get a lot of sacks or make plays outside the box. Overly reliant on the swim move. Does not bull linemen backward very often, won't outquick NFL guards. Flashes quickness off the snap, but gets stuck on blocks too often when tired, and loses ability to get to the ball even if able to disengage. Can get low and create a pile on the goal line, but gets pushed back when playing high in other short-yardage situations. Doesn't have the athleticism to stop his momentum. Will run himself too far upfield and miss sacks and tackles when he can't stop himself.

NFL Comparison

Terrance Knighton

Bottom Line

Williams quit the game after high school, but missed it enough to try again as a junior college enrollee. He should project as a starting NFL nose tackle, even if he is rotated out regularly against more pass-heavy offenses. Uses his hustle to chase ball carriers (20.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks in two years starting) and strong anchor to hold the line. He has good quickness in relation to his size, but is overly reliant on this athleticism at the moment. Plays both three-technique and one-technique for North Carolina, and it's likely he's been coached/asked to be more of a penetrator than he will be in the NFL. For a player with his size and strength, you'd like to see him use it more. When he decides to get his pads low and anchor against base blocks and double teams, he can be impossible to move. Opposing teams made it a concern to try and run him upfield, or use his active motor in backside pursuit against him (running away from him to get him to chase and wear out).
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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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