Similar to Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers identified a player they wanted and jumped up quickly into the fourth round to select offensive tackle Daryl Williams. The former Oklahoma Sooner played right tackle in college and was one of the big reasons the Sooners’ offense was 12th in Division I-A in rushing yards in 2014.
Williams has the physical tools to be an offensive tackle in the NFL at 6-5 and 327 pounds. The area he excels, and one of the reasons he could earn the starting job his rookie year, is because of his run blocking ability. In this game against West Virginia there was four plays that stood out that shows just how good Williams is.
This was probably the best play of the game for the Sooners who broke off a long run to get them into scoring position. The key to the play though was Williams who was able to engage with his man and force him towards the sideline, opening a huge running lane for the back.
Towards the end of the first half, the Sooner were inside the five yard line and ran three straight run plays. On the first down play, Williams blocked his man but had his helmet knocked off. In college football, if a player has his helmet knocked off for any reason he must sit out the next play. On second down, the Sooners saw their run play stopped but on the third down play, shown below, they punched it in behind Williams
One thing that stood out the most for Williams was his relentless blocking and he would keep playing to the whistle. On this play, Williams is blocking for a run play to the right side and the play doesn’t go anywhere. However, towards the end Williams is seen driving his defender out of the pile and down the field.
The run blocking is clearly the strength of Daryl Williams but he is also more capable of protecting Cam Newton in pass protection. The benefit of blocking for a quarterback like Newton is players don’t have to hold their blocks long because of his mobility in the pocket. Williams shows, as in the play below, that he has enough lateral quickness to slide out and stop pass rushers.
One thing that is clear about GM Dave Gettleman and this front office is that they identify their guys. They are not going to reach for someone or find a player who might fit. Daryl Williams is a perfect fit for this offense because of his run-blocking ability and certainly has the ability to start Week 1 at right tackle for the Panthers.