Dan Williams

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mayoclinic, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    The latest in Tennessee's history of fast risers for the draft (Jerod Mayo, Robert Ayers) is this 6'3", 327# DT, who has drawn comparisons to Haloti Ngata, Albert Haynesworth and BJ Raji. He's much more explosive and athletic, and offers greater positional versatility than Terrance Cody, though Cody is probably more of an immovable wall against the run.

    Here's what KC Joyner at the ESPN DraftLab had to say about Williams:

    One of the most difficult scouting projects is grading an inconsistent player. When a player alternates between performing well and performing poorly, the issue is no longer a matter of whether or not he has professional-level potential. The question that has to be answered at that point is why there is a performance variance and whether or not the issue causing the inconsistency can be corrected.

    I bring this up because Tennessee senior defensive tackle Dan Williams (#32 in Todd McShay's Mock Draft 1.0 and #18 on Mel Kiper's latest Big Board) may be the most inconsistent player I have reviewed in the Draft Lab series.

    I graded six games of Williams' 2009 season (at Florida, vs. Auburn, vs. Georgia, at Alabama, vs. South Carolina, at Ole Miss). He has a reputation of being a run-stuffer, but in the first two contests, Williams won only one of the seventeen Point of Attack (POA) run blocks he faced. It wasn't a matter of his being double-teamed, as he faced only one blocker on twelve of the seventeen blocks. In addition, it is worth noting that the runners gained 70 yards on the runs, so it also wasn't a case where Williams plugged the holes without beating the blocker.

    Now contrast that performance to the Week Six game against Georgia. Williams faced seven POA blocks and won three of them. Georgia runners also gained only 11 total yards on those carries and five of them resulted in a gain of two or fewer yards.

    The scouting eye and metric eyes were in agreement that Williams was hustling much more in that contest. Proof for this can be found in that all three of his wins came when he defeated a blocker on the backside of the run and then pursued the ballcarrier down. That is a rare and very valuable trait that shows just how good Williams can be when his motor is running.

    One surprising finding was how good Williams did in the splash play department (a splash play being when a defender does something to negatively impact a pass). His 11 splash plays in six games isn't in Ndamukong Suh territory but it does rank quite well with the Draft Lab findings for Gerald McCoy (10 splash plays in five games) and beats the marks posted by Marvin Austin (three in five games) and Terrence Cody (three in four games).

    Williams' high splash play total was generated in part because he has a very effective swim move. He also has a superb spin move that he wasn't able to get much success out of because the Volunteers faced so much zone pass blocking. If he gets with an NFL team that can put him into more man-blocking situations, Williams should be able to get more than a few splash plays with this move.

    For all of the positives listed above, my scouting eye was consistently reminded of the inconsistency issue and it led me to ponder the question posed at the beginning of this article -- what is causing this issue and can it be corrected when Williams gets to the next level?

    Some of the answers to this might be found in an interview Williams did with ESPN.com blogger Chris Low. Three questions in particular stand out:

    How much better are you moving at the lighter weight?

    DW: I'm around 320 right now and able to last a lot longer out there and play a whole lot harder. When I first got here as a freshman, I was 357, but I told myself I was never going to see that weight again. It was just too much good eating. I sort of fell off again after last season when I went home for the holidays and we didn't go to a bowl game. I got back up to around 340 and wasn't watching what I ate. But once spring came and the coaches talked to me, I knew had to get back down to be the player I wanted to be and for the good of the team.

    What kind of impact has Ed Orgeron had on your development?

    DW: He's been pushing me since he got here. That's the main thing, and I've also learned a lot from him film-wise and about offensive schemes. The main thing, though, is the way he's driven me every day in practice and helped me become a better pass-rusher.

    Back in the preseason, they had you listed with the second team. Were they just trying to motivate you?

    DW: I really don't know. I just know these coaches are going to play the best players. I guess my practice habits weren't as good, and I wasn't meeting their expectations. I had to change the way Dan Williams was practicing. The way I practiced with the old coaching staff wasn't going to get it. I had to get my mind focused and show these coaches that I was one of the better players on the team.

    The upside of this is that Williams realizes his habits weren't what they should be. He also realizes that he does better when paired with a coach who will stay on his case on a consistent basis.

    The Football Scientist Lab Result: Williams may be a high-maintenance coaching project but the on-field upside is tremendous and makes it worth the effort. He gets a TFS seal of approval as long as he is picked up by a team that has a fire and brimstone motivator ready to work with him from day one.

    NFL Draft 2010 - K.C. Joyner: Tennessee's Dan Williams has tremendous potential, but needs the right motivator to bring it out - ESPN

    The Senior Bowl practices start in a week, and it will be interesting to compare Williams with Cody. If he shows flashes of Ngata-like athleticism and the ability to play both 3-4 NT and DE, and some consistency, he would be a definite possibility at 22, if he lasts that long. I've seen him going to Denver at 10 and Miami at 12 in recent drafts, and I projected him to Tennessee at 17 as a Haynesworth replacement.
  2. Nonentity

    Nonentity Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Very very interesting, thanks mayoclinic. I don't know a great deal about the guy, but he's sparking an interest.

    I'm not sure he falls to us: too many teams need a defensive tackle this year and he has the prototype size in both the 3-4 and 4-3. Suh goes in the top 3, McCoy to whoever misses out on him, Cody to a 3-4 team and then Williams to either a 3-4 or 4-3 team.

    This versatility is why he probably doesn't make it to 22.
  3. zimmy

    zimmy On the Game Day Roster

    Does Williams project to 3-4 end? And if not, who are our options at end?
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I think there's a good possibility Williams could play both 3-4 NT and DE, somewhat like Ngata. I like him at 22 as an option because his versatility gives us flexibility. If Wilfork stays, one of the two could play DE in a big lineup along with Warren. That would greatly improve our run defense. I like Williams' upside at 3-4 DE more than Jared Odrick or Arthur Jones. If Wilfork leaves, or is franchised and is likely to stay for only one year, we have a replacement ready in the wings, with Brace and Pryor for depth.

    I'll be curious to see what Williams shows in the Senior Bowl practices, and if he really does have the agility and burst to play 3-4 DE.
  5. Nonentity

    Nonentity Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Is his height a problem? I don't know the requirements for the position particularly well compared to others, but Williams is 'only' 6'3 compared to Warren's 6'5 and Seymour's 6'6.
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I think BB prefers height, all things considered. But Wright is 6'4" and Green 6'3". Haloti Ngata is 6'4". I don't think the height issue would be prohibitive.
  7. Warren94

    Warren94 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I like William a lot. SEC Player...he would be a nice addition to the current DL.
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Right now I think he's in my top 5 prospects for the Pats, excluding Suh who I consider out of reach:

    1. Rolando McClain, ILB - would require a trade-up
    --- possibly Joe Haden at #2, though I don't really want a CB ----
    2. Carlos Dunlap, DE/OLB - best chance I've seen of replacing Willie McGinest
    3. CJ Spiller, RB - top offensive playmaker in the draft
    4 (tie). Dan Williams, DE/DT. His positional versatility, mobility and explosiveness give him the edge over Terrance Cody in my book.
    4 (tie). Brian Bulaga, OT.

    Give me one of those 5 guys at 22 and I'm very happy. Find a way to trade up and get any 2 of them, and I'm ecstatic.
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Isn't the reason that you don't want a cb or a te because you think that we will re-sign Bodden and Watson?

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  10. Warren94

    Warren94 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Price from UCLA I would add to that list.
  11. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    As I've said numerous times, I would prefer to use the draft to add talent rather than backfill holes. We already have a very athletic TE in Watson and a solid CB in Bodden. And we have some major needs. I'd much rather re-sign Watson and Bodden (or replace them in FA) than fill those needs through the draft, particularly with high choices, taking away from our ability to address other areas.

    As far as CB goes, Joe Haden is a terrific talent, but I expect him to go in the 7-13 range. It would take a significant trade up to get him, and I'd rather go with Bodden and Butler. Patrick Peterson is an option for 2011 with the pick from the Raiders.

    Regarding TE, I'm not sure that Gresham would be that much of an upgrade over Watson, or that our offense would particularly take advantage of his skills.
  12. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I've seen Dunlap listed at 6'6" 295#. I think you've said he's playing in the 270-275# range. But if he is 295#, how does he project as a DE in our base 3-4?

    I agree with those prospects as being interesting at #22. I'd also add Tate and Benn (marginal), as well as JPP and Hardy (marginal) and a couple of OT's at this point of the offseason.
  13. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I think Brian Price will be a top 15 pick. I think he's better as a junior than Suh was a year ago, and will be almost as good as Suh and McCoy. I had Seattle taking him at 14 in my most recent mock. Pete Caroll played him regularly and would know how good he is. The Giants at 15 and the Titans at 17 are also possibilities. He's a bit short for a 3-4 DT at 6'2", but I wouldn't put it past him. I'd certainly consider him at 22 if he fell, though I think he's more of a 4-3 DT than a 3-4 DE.
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    I too would much rather re-sign Bodden and Watson. However, I don't presume that these actions will take place or that we will replace them in free agency with equal valued players.

  15. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    Williams actually does remind me of Vince. No, not Wilfork. Vince my German Shepherd. D-O-G.
  16. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Is your dog draft eligible?

    Seriously, you really think Williams is a dog? Could you elaborate?
  17. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    I haven't done any serious film study, but from casually watching, he appears to be lazy and takes a lot of plays off. Guys whom he should be manhandling are taking him out of the play way too often. Seems like the kind of guy that plays hard in a contract year and then disappears until the next contract year.

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