Williams a hulking presence in Mobile

Some scouts consider him one of the most imposing tackles in the 2008 NFL Draft. But this Vanderbilt offensive tackle, who spoke to the Bucs at the Senior Bowl, knows scouts want to see something more this week in Mobile — a mean streak. Find out more in this exclusive premium feature.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had great luck with former Tennessee offensive guard Arron Sears in 2007, as the Southeastern Conference's top lineman of 2006 made a quick transition to the NFL, started 16 games and earned All-Rookie Team honors.

Perhaps the Bucs are preparing to mine the SEC for another offensive line talent, even though they appear set at the position. The Bucs spent part of their Sunday in Mobile, Ala., with Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams, a hulking 6-foot-6, 317-pound presence with a long wingspan, who might be a great value in a draft with several top prospects at his position.

Teams have plenty of film on the All-SEC performer, who allowed just two sacks in his final two collegiate seasons. Many observers consider him the best offensive lineman in modern-day Vanderbilt history.

Most teams aren't doubting his talent. But Williams senses that scouts are looking for something from him this week at the Senior Bowl, where he is playing for the South team.

"They want to see some temperament, be tenacious and finish people off," Williams said.

In other words, they're looking for a mean streak. Because Williams has all the talent a tackle needs to back that up.

During his first workouts on Monday Williams proved he could push around top-shelf collegiate ends, as his South teammates, like Georgia Tech end Darrell Robertson, had serious problems getting around him. He also helped spring two long runs by South running backs Tashard Choice of Georgia Tech and Matt Forte or Tulane.

With the size and quickness to counter any type of pass rusher, plus solid run blocking skills, Williams could be the type of blocker a NFL team could build around for some time. But, with several top-shelf offensive tackles in this draft, there is potential for Williams to drop into the second round, providing a great value for any team.

It seems the only thing holding Williams back is his speed. His 40 time of 5.29 is slower than that of Michigan's Jake Long (5.08) and Southern Cal's Sam Baker (5.09). But his speed is comparable to Boise State's Ryan Clady (5.28), who some rank ahead of Williams.

Scout.com ranks Williams as the No. 2 offensive tackle prospect and most services consider him a Top 100 player.

Williams said he spoke to Bucs director of pro personnel Mark Dominik on Sunday about "football, non-football and everything from top to bottom."

Offensive tackle might not seem to be a position of need for the Bucs, who have Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle and Luke Petitgout and Donald Penn at left tackle. But during the past few years the Bucs have had plenty of injury issues on their line and the team has taken the approach recently that too many lineman aren't enough.

And given the Bucs' experience with Sears, taking a look at Williams couldn't hurt.

"It's a great conference for any position," Williams said. "It's the best in the nation from top to bottom. Being a lineman, if you get to play in that conference for four or five years, you're going to be pretty good."

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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