A lot of coaches will tell you that offensive linemen are the smartest players on the field. Would you care to tell us who the dumbest are? Name names if you feel the need to.
(Laughing) "Probably the defensive linemen man. All they have to do is chase the ball and get the quarterback, so I'm going with them."
How did you end up at Vanderbilt?
"I was about 245 pounds coming out of high school and I guess you could say I was mildly recruited. I had offers from Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Southern Miss and Memphis. Some other small schools offered to. I had always wanted to play in the SEC growing up in Baton Rouge and seeing the type of players that played at LSU, so I wanted to play against them someday. I also had an opportunity to play early at Vanderbilt, would be able to play against that top level competition and could put myself in the position I am in today to go to the NFL, so those were some of the reasons I made the decision I did."
I know you're from Baton Rouge. What was it like going to school in Nashville and having to put up with the country music all the time? Are there crazy stories you can tell us about SEC fans over your years?
"It's not so bad. People say that Nashville is country music city, but it's really just music city. There are all kinds of music down there, so I've gotten used to country from being here, but at the same time you get to listen to everything down here. All the fans in the SEC are crazy. I remember going down to my hometown of Baton Rouge to play LSU and I wasn't actually on the bus for this game, I wasn't playing that week, but I came down to the game and my friends were telling me when they came in people were throwing beers at the bus and fans were flipping them off from the street and stuff. Me and my dad were walking through the concourse and people were yelling at us because we were wearing Vandy stuff, so it was crazy. I went to Michigan two years ago and they have the nicest fans I've ever seen in my life. You don't need police escorts to get into that place, the fans were thanking us for coming, and it was weird. I thought the Big House was overrated, but then again it may have been because we didn't pose a big threat to them."
People can just go onto any website and read about Chris Williams the football player, but talk a bit about what you like to do for fun if you will.
"Outside of football I'm usually hanging out with my fiancée. I like playing video games, golfing and bowling. I can bowl a 245."
What are you rocking on your IPod right now?
"Let's see, I've got some Timbaland, some Metallica, I've just got a ton of stuff. I used to be a DJ, so I have a bunch of stuff. I listen to anything that sounds good man."
There is an obvious lack of players in this draft that can play left offensive tackle the NFL and you are one of the few players that have the skill set to do so at the next level. How much do you think being one of, if not the best pass protectors in the draft will help you on draft day?
"I hope it helps a lot. I'm having a hard time telling what actually matters at this point, but all I can do at this point is hope it matters tremendously and that the intangible stuff helps. I think I have a good skill set and some things you can't teach."
How did you develop such good footwork? Was it just basic coaching, natural talent or where there some James Bond type secrets you can share with us?
(Laughing) "You know, I really don't know. I came in pretty light, so I guess coming in being athletic helped. I kind of cheat some because I was a lot of film, so I know what's coming most of the time before it happens, so that helps. There isn't anything in particular though. I didn't play basketball or anything, I was always a baseball player, so I guess it's just natural."
What is harder for you to deal with as a blocker, power or speed?
"I don't know, I'd probably have to say someone with combination obviously. Being one dimensional doesn't help you much when you're going up against good players. If it was a straight up choice I'd say power because I see a ton of speed in the SEC."
On that note, who would you say the toughest defensive linemen you played against were and what made them so hard to deal with?
"Derrick Harvey from Florida was a really good player. He got bigger since last year and he got to play vertical with really wide shades, so he got to rush the passer a lot and was put in a position to win a lot. Wallace Gilberry from Alabama is a guy that had some nice power, but I only saw him a couple of snaps."
What was the Senior Bowl like? It seems like a lot of the drills give the defensive linemen a big advantage. Since you're such a polished pass blocker you did fine, but some other guys struggled. Do you offensive linemen ever talk about that?
"Every offensive lineman knows that one on one drills are gearing toward the defense and it's just one of the things you get used to. We do one on one at practices just about every day at practice, so that's something I've gotten used to. It actually made it easy on me because at practice the guys all line up offsides all the time anyway and know our snap counts, so the Combine was more of a relief. The biggest problem with that is people can develop bad habits in those drills because they're just trying to win instead of becoming a better football player from them."
Coming off the Senior Bowl we feel that you're in the mix to be the second offensive tackle taken behind Jake Long. What have you been hearing right now and what teams are you visiting with? Is anyone showing more interest then others?
(Laughing at me not being able to say tackle taken) "I've heard I'll probably be the third tackle taken, but some have said second and some have said fourth at this point, so it's all different. I've heard I'll probably go between 12 and 15. I went and visited with the Titans today. The Bears are coming in to see me Tuesday, I'm going to Detroit on Thursday, Coach Alexander from the Bengals is coming in Wednesday, I'll be in Tampa Bay on the 8th of April, Kansas City and St. Louis on the 15th and 16th and I'm sure some others will piggyback after that. I'd say Detroit and Chicago have been showing a lot of interest, but a lot of times that means they're not going to draft you. I have developed good relationships with scouts from both of those teams though, so from my perspective it sounds like a positive. I also have a good relationship with some people with the Houston Texans who have been showing me a lot of interest."
Have you had any contact with the Philadelphia Eagles yet and if so, what has the extent been? Do you know anything about the organization or city?
"Yeah, I sat down with Coach Reid and Coach Castillo at the Combine and then Coach Castillo came down for Pro Day where we did some board work. He's talking about coming back down and doing a private workout with me too. I have two friends that are Eagles fans and I know all the fans in the Northeast are crazy just like the SEC. They just like to remind me how much better they are then the Saints all the time."
Was there a particular team you grew up rooting for or a team that you really hope drafts you? Don't give us that you don't care stuff!
"I grew up a Saints fan. I grew up watching Willie Roaf and Archie Manning, but we didn't win many games back then. Honestly I wouldn't mind going to Denver because Jay is out there and has a big old house and stuff, so maybe I could live in the basement or something. It'd definitely be cool playing with him, it's a nice city and I've never been out to the West Coast. Obviously I would love to play for any team though."
You played with some very good players like Jay Cutler, Earl Bennett and Jonathan Goff. Have you apologized to them yet for hogging the limelight and not letting them have any attention?
"Earl needs to apologize to me for hogging the limelight. It's crazy because Earl gets most of the interviews and stuff and they love him down here, so I only started getting interviewed recently. I guess I'm an offensive lineman, so they figure there isn't much to talk about with me."
Seriously though, Mike Mayock was in love with Cutler when he came out of the draft. Have you ever seen those two holding hands or anything?
(Laughing) "You know, I never saw those two holding hands. It was funny because I was talking about Mayock one day in the weight room and Cutler was in there and I was like "man, Mayock was saying this or that about me" and Jay told me I couldn't talk bad about Mayock because he loved him. I talked to Mayock too when I saw him at the Combine and told him he needed to give me some love. As far as holding hands, I plead the fifth, I haven't seen anything, but I guess you never know."
Who is the second best quarterback you know from Santa Clause, Ind.?
"I guess Jack Cutler, Jake's dad. I can't say Jay because he took me out for dinner this past weekend. If I don't go to Denver I might change my answer though."
Williams was a great guy to talk to. The entire interview was full of laughter and we had a ton of fun together. He's an intelligent guy, but he's very down to earth and personable as well. Congratulations to Chris as well as he will be getting married this April before the draft. We have him ranked at the 3rd overall offensive tackle in the draft, however he and Ryan Clady are more 2a and 2b to us.
Matt Alkire is the co-founder of www.scoutsnotebook.com which is a free website dedicated to following the NFL Draft. He also is the Northeast Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com.
Interview: Chris Williams
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