SOTT Draft Profile: Sylvester Williams
An underrated defensive lineman from the University of North Carolina, Sylvester Williams has overcome many obstacles and now is in position to potentially be a first round pick.
We talked with Doc Kennedy of the Tar Heel Blog, a North Carolina Tar Heels community on SB Nation, about the Senior Bowl standout.
Tale of the Tape
Height- 6’ 3”
Weight- 313 pounds
Can you explain his interesting background?
Williams only played one year of high school football and was working at a radiator parts factory in Kansas before deciding to try playing football again to help him get an education. He enrolled in a Kansas junior college and became a standout. He was an honorable mention All-American in JuCo and was a real steal for UNC when he signed with the Tar Heels. He had an outstanding two years at Carolina and was named first team All-ACC this season.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
His strengths are his ability to shed blocks and get into an opponent’s backfield. In a nationally-televised game against Virginia this year, he spent so much time in the Cavalier backfield that he could have taken a couple of handoffs. He is also very quick laterally, losing 20 pounds going into his senior season. His primary weakness is that he is not overpowering. He’s not going to bull over an offensive lineman, which he has not necessarily had to do given his ability to shed blocks. But in the NFL, with quicker and more agile linemen, he may need to build that strength to take on blocks one-on-one.
How would he fit in the 3-4 defense? Do you think he could play nose tackle?
At UNC, he played in both a 3-man and 4-man front. North Carolina coach Larry Fedora put in a 3-3-5 hybrid defense this season, and he played nose tackle in that scheme. He would probably fit in fine in a 3-4, but he is versatile enough to do either.
How would you rank him with other recently drafted UNC d-lineman like Quinton Coples, Robert Quinn, and Marvin Austin?
I would certainly rank him ahead of Austin, who never lived up to the hype in Chapel Hill (and later became the poster child for UNC’s NCAA issues) and has been injured in the NFL. I think he compares favorably with Quinn and Coples, who were also deceptively quick.
Is there a current NFL player you think he compares favorably to?
I will defer to ESPN’s Todd McShay, who compared him to Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins as a mobile lineman who can play inside as well as the 3 technique.