Wil­liams tops tal­ent-rich tackle pool

The Buffalo News - - NFL - By Vic Carucci

This is the sev­enth in­stall­ment of a po­si­tion-by-po­si­tion pre­view of the 2019 NFL Draft.

De­fen­sive tackle ranks as one of the more tal­ent-rich ar­eas in the NFL draft.

Many prog­nos­ti­ca­tors be­lieve Alabama’s Quin­nen Wil­liams ranks at the top of this year’s col­lege crop, re­gard­less of po­si­tion, even though Ari­zona could have its sights set on Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back Kyler Mur­ray as the No. 1 over­all pick. They also can see at least a half-dozen de­fen­sive tack­les se­lected in the first two rounds.

Be­sides Wil­liams, other de­fen­sive tack­les widely viewed as wor­thy of first-round grades are Hous­ton’s Ed Oliver and Clem­son’s Dex­ter Lawrence. An­other Clem­son prod­uct, Chris­tian Wilkins, is seen as go­ing no later than the sec­ond round, with Mis­sis­sippi State’s Jef­fery Sim­mons and Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery also fall­ing into the sec­ond-round cat­e­gory.

Af­ter Day 2, how­ever, the con­sen­sus is that the qual­ity of avail­able tack­les drops sig­nif­i­cantly.

“De­fen­sive tackle has been held up as this draft’s strong suit, and for good rea­son – the po­si­tion could pro­duce as many as seven or eight of the top 50 play­ers se­lected in this year’s draft,” NFL me­dia draft an­a­lyst Lance Zier­lein wrote for NFL. com. “Guys like Quin­nen Wil­liams, Chris­tian Wilkins, Ed Oliver, Dex­ter Lawrence and Jef­fery Sim­mons have re­ceived plenty of at­ten­tion as first-round can­di­dates, and the po­si­tion’s riches will spill into Day 2 of the draft.

“But the tal­ent pool isn’t lim­it­less here. Teams that haven’t ad­dressed DT by Fri­day of draft week­end could be left in a lurch, as there isn’t as much depth in the mid­dle to late rounds.”

Over­all draft grade for the po­si­tion: A-.

The best: Quin­nen Wil­liams, Alabama. You might be hard-pressed to find a bet­ter or more com­plete player in the draft. Af­ter a col­lege ca­reer of dom­i­nat­ing the mid­dle of the line, there’s ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve he’ll do the same at the next level.

He has size (6-foot-3, 303 pounds), strength, quick­ness and ath­leti­cism. He rou­tinely made it into the back­field to stop run plays al­most as soon as they be­gan. He also was a ma­jor in­side pass-rush­ing force. The best part for the team that selects Wil­liams is that he en­ters the draft as a red-shirt sopho­more, mean­ing there is room for him to de­velop phys­i­cally and men­tally as a pro.

“You don’t see any plays taken off with Quin­nen Wil­liams,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with re­porters. “He’s got tremen­dous hand us­age. He dis­en­gages and gets into that back­field. He’s the clos­est thing to (Los An­ge­les Rams de­fen­sive tackle Aaron) Don­ald at the col­le­giate level as you saw this year. …

“He de­stroys dou­ble teams, he hus­tles, he has great ef­fort, he chases in pur­suit. He may not be Aaron Don­ald, but those com­par­isons are more to Wil­liams than maybe Ed Oliver.”

Bills view: This could eas­ily qual­ify as the Bills’ top area of need. Much has been made about the lead­er­ship the Bills lost with Kyle Wil­liams’ re­tire­ment, but the team also lost their most dis­rup­tive in­side force on de­fense.

De­spite his ad­vanced age, Kyle Wil­liams had more of a con­sis­tent im­pact than Star Lo­tulelei. He also was bet­ter than Jor­dan Phillips and Har­ri­son Phillips.

The Bills must find a high-end re­place­ment for Kyle Wil­liams, and the draft fig­ures to give them a good op­por­tu­nity to do so at the ninth over­all spot or else­where in the first round if they should move via trade.

“Take a seat, mom”: Grow­ing up with­out a fa­ther in a small town in Louisiana, Alabama de­fen­sive tackle Isa­iah Buggs saw the strug­gles his mother went through to raise him and his sib­lings. He has used that as a driv­ing force to be­come a good enough player to make big money in the NFL.

“Watch­ing what she did, and what she had to put up with with us, this is my mo­ti­va­tion to get her what­ever she wants, what­ever she needs,” Buggs said. “Now I just tell her ev­ery time, ‘Take a seat. It is my turn to take care of you, be­cause you did it for 22 years.’ And now I owe it all to her. This is why I do it.”

Sleeper: De­mar­cus Christ­mas, Florida State. Al­though he could end up be­ing an un­drafted free agent, he has plenty of qual­i­ties that will con­vince a team to sign him.

At 6-3 and 302 pounds, he has good size, strength and is a de­cent ath­lete. His forte is play­ing the run, and he con­sis­tently gives tremen­dous ef­fort.

Next: In­side line­backer

Getty Im­ages

For­mer Alabama de­fen­sive line­man Quin­nen Wil­liams is ex­pected to be the top tackle taken in the 2019 NFL Draft later this month.

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