Alabama's defense could have lost several starters after their national championship title run in 2015, but Williams, Jonathan Allen, and Eddie Jackson stuck around Tuscaloosa for another go. Williams was expected to climb up draft boards with a strong senior season because of his athleticism and strength, given that he would be a full-time starter for the Tide. He didn't quite meet that expectation, though, as he started only two games in 2016. Williams was a second-team Associated Press All-American and All-SEC pick, however, as he made 31 tackles, 16 for loss, and had nine sacks on the year (no solo sacks in the season's final five games). That sack number actually decreased from the year before, as he had 10.5 as a pass-rush specialist among his 12.5 tackles for loss. In his first two years on campus, Williams was a reserve defender that played in 19 games total (three tackles, one for loss in 2013; five tackles, 1.5 sacks in 2014). The Baton Rouge native reportedly failed multiple drug tests during his time with Alabama, but was never suspended. He did, however, sit for the first half of the team's game against Kentucky in 2016 after being arrested on a misdemeanor gun charge.
Muscle fibers are tight and twitchy. Rockets out of stance like a track sprinter, but with shoulder pads on. True edge bending ability as a rusher. Pass-rush approach is more sophisticated than he is given credit for. Can win outside or inside making every rush a potential two-way go. Shows good feel for the pass-rush arc and understands when to attack the corner. Able to dip shoulder and pivot under and around an offensive tackle and into the quarterback. Hand usage well-timed as a rusher. Primarily a rusher but showed continuing improvement in technique at the point of attack. Should post impressive straight-line speed at the combine. Plus foot quickness with the smoothness to drop into coverage and operate in space on zone blitzes.
Scouts say he struggles with Alabama scheme and needs to have things simplified. Can be taken advantage of with screen passes and misdirection. Has sinewy build that resembles a move tight end more than an NFL edge rusher. Arms and chest lack thickness and that shows up in his play strength. Is improving as edge-setter but he still needs work. Would benefit from a stronger initial punch. Athletic tackles with a well-timed punch can stymie his rush plans. Needs to do better job of getting set pre-snap. Has some hip tightness that limits his stride length upfield and laterally.
Sources Tell Us
"He's like the Predator. When he's allowed to do just one thing -- get the quarterback -- he is really good at it. Don't ask him to do much more than that, though. He's going to be a high-rep player and I don't know if NFL defenses are going to trust him to do more than just rush." -- NFC area scout
Alabama has the type of talent and scheme on defense that can make life much easier for everyone along the front seven, but Williams has explosiveness and pass-rush talent to create his own havoc as a pass rusher regardless of what is around him. Scouts say he is lighter than his listed weight and needs to prove he can play with increased toughness in order to reach his potential. Williams' career might be as a pass-rush specialist, but he's talented enough at that endeavor to become a dangerous rush linebacker in the NFL.