Draftnik's Corner - DT Update #2

To say that Williams had productive games is an understatement – he nabbed 3 sacks and 7TFL's and was absolutely dominant against USM

I love to watch match-up's between the top players in the trenches so you'll understand I was in hog heaven watching highly rated prospect Kevin Williams (Oklahoma State) battling head-to-head frequently with two of the draft's top OG prospects Derrick Dockery (Texas) and Torrin Tucker (Southern Mississippi). The Giants reportedly showed a lot of interest in the big DT at the Senior Bowl and I can understand why. The problem is there's no way he'll be there with the 25th pick so if the Giants want him badly enough they'll have to trade up. A long way up, possibly even into the top 10…

To say that Williams had productive games is an understatement – he nabbed 3 sacks and 7TFL's and was absolutely dominant against USM (Tucker may still be sporting his ‘Property of Kevin Williams T-shirt in XXL!). He displayed the type of versatility the Giants love switching frequently between left and right DT but also playing a few downs against Texas as an RDE. A force against the run, he demonstrated quite clearly that he can hold his ground, maintain position and play off of double-team blocks as well as the quickness to flow down the line to make tackles or shoot the gap faster than an OT could block down on him when the guard lined up over him pulled. He does appear a little laboured in his running when chasing from behind though he has more than enough speed to be effective in the NFL in that regard.

What will make him a lot of money though is his skill as a pass rusher. I had thought that Jarrett Johnson was a fine one but Williams is a whole lot better! Dockery was the only player in either game to have any sort of success against him in pass protection and he did it solely by cutting him at the snap, either bringing him down completely or stopping his charge in it's tracks before he got started. However, that was a lesson he learned after he had given up a sack, pushed back and then out-quicked with an inside move! Williams shows tremendous strength in his upper body, able to club even the biggest of men off balance at the snap and drive back 320lber's with ease on his bull rush. He's got an arsenal of pass rush moves too, showing the hand-fighting ability to free himself from blocks as well as the athleticism to redirect off of contact, loop around his opponent or spin into the QB's face.

He doesn't look particularly fast once free though – times released from the Combine at ESPN and TFY Draft Preview are vastly different with low 4.8's and high 4.9's quoted – but he closes quickly on the QB and puts consistent pressure on them when one-on-one with an opponent. He all but sealed a high position in the draft at the combine regardless of his timing over 40 yards, showing up in top shape at 304lb's – with under 15% body fat! – and reportedly impressing everyone in the drills with his footwork and lateral movement. Some teams project him to play in a 3-4 system but I think he's better suited to the inside and I think he'll have an immediate impact for whichever team drafts him. Mr Accorsi, feel free to go get him!

By contrast, the more I see of William Joseph (Miami, Fla), the less I like. I've now seen four ‘Canes games and parts of two others and he has by far been consistently the least impressive of the top prospects on their line even though he started the season as the best known. Watching him against Virginia Tech, he put in a decent performance without ever dominating, able to use his quickness to grab a sack and make a couple of plays against the run but for the most part his play was uninspiring and there was room to run right up the middle. Against Ohio State in the National Championship game though I thought he played very poorly, double-teamed a lot early on then dominated one-on-one by Bryce Bishop, getting knocked off the ball frequently and getting in on the action very rarely. He also was taken advantage of in his pass rush, getting too far up the field and pushed wide allowing the QB to successfully run draws straight past him for good yardage. Certainly, he didn't show as much potential in that match-up as Jimmy Kennedy had when I watched the PSU star against Bishop earlier in the season.

As is the norm for top Hurricane prospects, he declined to work out at the Combine – except for displaying his strength in the bench press, notching up 29 reps – but at Miami's Pro Day reportedly didn't impress that much, clocking a time close to 5.0 over 40 yards which is well below what was expected of a player whose quickness is his best attribute. TFY also reports there are some concerns about his ability to get along with other players which, if proven, could cause him to slide on draft day. To be honest, I think he'll get drafted towards the end of the first round off his reputation from earlier in his career because watching him play this season he has only shown flashes of ability. If the Giants draft him, I will be very disappointed as I don't think he fits our scheme at all, certainly I don't think he could take on double-teams or play over the OC the way that Keith Hamilton can.

At the same time as Joseph's stock was falling in the National Championship game, Kenny Peterson (Ohio State) was probably putting in the best performance of his career. Playing both DT spots as well as some RDE, he made a huge impression on scouts watching the game, dominating at times in the pass rush and grabbing a pair of sacks, forcing a fumble and playing stoutly against the run. The fact that he was able to generate pressure from the RDE spot as an outside rusher – with a great spin move back to the inside – also will stand him in good stead as a number of teams project him to that spot in their 3-4 schemes.

At the combine, he also chose not to work out but weighed in at an impressive 298lb's but was quoted as saying he anticipates clocking in the 4.7's at the Buckeyes Pro Day. Whether he does or not, it's worth bearing in mind that the Buckeyes players have always turned out fast times on their track so adding .15 to the time bandied around will probably be more accurate an indication of his true speed. It's worth noting though that Miami's OC Brett Romberg stated at the combine that he felt Peterson wasn't as good as his junior line-mate Tim Anderson but as he had kicked his ass all day it may have been a case of sour grapes!

I really like this guy but see him at the top of the third tier of DT's – Robertson, Williams and Kennedy in the top tier, Sullivan and Warren in the next group – and wouldn't be surprised if he is considered by many teams a better 3-4 DE prospect than a DT though I don't doubt he can play either in the pro's very successfully. A winner throughout his life – his team won the mythical High School National championship too so his goal as a pro is to win the Super Bowl for the clean sweep! – he's considered a team leader and those are great guys to have in the locker room. If the Giants don't move up or have one of the DT's I rate above him fall into their laps, I'd love to have him but with a good performance at his workout, he could go before the 25th pick anyway.

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