Digging Deep: Brennan Williams
In this third part of the Digging Deep series, we look at the Houston Texans’ first pick of the third round, offensive tackle Brennan Williams. Williams was considered a top tackle in the draft before a shoulder injury ended his season with the Tar Heels late in the 2012 season.
Williams is everything you want in an offensive tackle, a nasty player that knows how to finish off blocks. We talked to our good friend Doc Heelfire from the Tar Heel Blog and he gave us more insight into the big right tackle.
What did Brennan Williams mean to the UNC football program?
Williams was one of the anchors of a Tar Heel line that finally lived up to expectations. Williams held down the right side of a line that blocked for a 3,000-yard passer in Bryn Renner and a 1,000-yard runner in Giovani Bernard. It was easy for Williams to be overshadowed being on the same line as NFL top-10 pick Jonathan Cooper, but Williams and left tackle James Hurst were rock-solid on the outside. Williams was named second-team all-ACC despite missing the last month of the season.
How big of loss was it for the Tar Heels when they lost Williams for the season?
It was a significant loss because of his skill and leadership. Carolina was deep on the line and was able to compensate for his absence, but I think the impact of his loss was in the intangibles. Perhaps the best measure of that was left tackle Hurst changing his number from 68 to Williams’ 73 for the remainder of the season to honor his injured teammate.
How would you describe Williams game?
Williams is an excellent run blocker and he will pancake a defender given a chance. He moves well downhill and has great footwork. Unfortunately, he is not as adept at pass blocking. When he is forced to settle in and handle a defender one-on-one in a pass blocking scheme, he can struggle, especially given how good of a run blocker he is. There is also concern from some experts about his inexperience (only a season and a half as a starter) and his return from his shoulder injury.
What is Williams biggest strength as an offensive tackle?
In addition to the aforementioned footwork, he is the kind of tackle you want to see out of central casting: nearly 6-6 and 310 lbs. He is relatively quick for an offensive lineman and has great athleticism.
Do you think the Texans have found a future starting right tackle in Williams?
I think so. Given some of the Texans’ O-line struggles, especially on the right side, he may even have a chance to come in and fight for snaps right away. It will be interesting to see how he returns from the torn labrum but when he is full speed, he has the potential to contribute right away.
They said T.J. Yates spoke up for Williams when the Texans drafted him, are you surprised?
Not at all. Yates is a class guy and had the chance to play with Williams at UNC. Williams is a character guy and I’m sure Yates has seen his development since he became a full time starter during Yates’ rookie year in Houston.
How do you see Williams projected at the next level?
Williams’ father played a decade in the NFL as a defensive lineman so I’m sure Williams knows what to expect on the other side of the ball. He also had the chance to work every day in practice against a future NFL first-round defensive lineman in Sylvester Williams. Brennan is the definition of upside as he will likely only get better as he adjusts to the pro game and is coached up to be a better pass blocker and keep his hands inside. He has the potential to be a stalwart in Houston for a while.