Scout Likes Williams Selection

The Vikings came away from the draft feeling jilted by Baltimore, but the Ravens felt used by another team. Still, one veteran scout has only high praise for the Vikings' first-round selection, defensive tackle Kevin Williams.

In what has been labeled 'the gaffe' by some in the media, the adventures of the Minnesota Vikings and their inability to select a player when they are on the clock has been talked about to death. Okay, the Vikings didn't select a player in the seventh slot in the draft, and they never intended to.

Sources close the Baltimore Ravens organization tell this column that the Ravens got caught with their hand in the cookie-jar on draft day and did not come away with the player they wanted.

"All I am going to say about what happened on draft day was that we (Ravens) had a deal in place, or we thought we had a deal in place with the Minnesota Vikings," the source said. "After much debate, we were trading up to the seventh pick to select Byron Leftwich. Little did we know that our old friends, Jack (Del Rio, Jacksonville's head coach) and James (Harris, Jacksonville's general manager) were on the phone with the Vikings as well, dragging this out. I guess that they wanted Leftwich pretty badly, or that would seem to be the case."

"From our end, the Vikings played it right, they did what they had to do and everybody basically got what they wanted."

Everywhere you look, there is a draft expert telling us about players A-Z. Over time, these experts have come out of the woodwork. Some are pretty darn good, but for some others, they are just as terrible.

What we have learned in the past few years, especially with the communication tools of this era, is anyone that says they are a scout, can be. Have website, talk draft? Someone will find that website, it may even be a professional team, according to a league scout.

"You'd be surprised at to the number of team executives, coaches, etc. that get online and see what is being said about a specific player. The reason is that just maybe, a website may have a report or an inside connection to a team or player that may be useful," the scout said. "In the game today, you can not discount anything, even if it could be thought of as absurd. There is always a piece of information out there, whether it is true or false, it is there."

Many in the media, from the beat writers, to the national writers, and onto the draft gurus, swarm around and are sure to put out their official report card for the draft. From these widespread, various reports, the Vikings have fallen in the B/C range on every evaluation that this writer has viewed.

With the assistance of a 30-year NFL veteran of the scouting circuit, we take a look at the Vikings' first-round draft choice, Kevin Williams, from an insider's view.

"The pick of Kevin Williams from Oklahoma State came as a surprise to many of us, but it really shouldn't have. Williams is a kid that is growing, both physically and mentally. When you look at him, he has good strength and quickness. One physical aspect that stands out about Williams is that he is tall (6-foot-5) and very square, meaning he has a box shape that his weight and strength are distributed well," the scout said. "Williams plays the run well, he can generate a rush from the tackle position and should be a presence against the pass due to his height. This should cause a quarterback to have one or two less lanes to throw the ball through."

Indications leading up to the day of the draft were that Minnesota was looking for a run-stuffing defensive tackle to play next to Chris Hovan. All eyes were on Dwayne Robertson from Kentucky and Jimmy Kennedy from Penn State. Williams was a player that was rated anywhere from the number three to the number six defensive tackle prospect, depending on various reports.

"We believed the pick was going to be Kennedy. He is what the Vikings were supposedly looking for, a tackle that plays the run extremely well and can generate some pressure. I am speculating, but for the Vikings to pass on Kennedy, they must have had the same issues as many had with Kennedy -- he can be lazy, taking plays off, he has had weight problems, and his attitude has been less than desired," the scout said. "We had Kennedy number three on our board at the defensive tackle position and Williams number two based on where they are in their development."

"Williams has as good a chance as any tackle that was in the draft, including Robertson, the fourth player selected in the draft. What Williams has that the other highly rated defensive tackles in this draft have not shown is great lateral movement. This kid (Williams) is agile and has the frame to fill out another 20 pounds. The Vikings' front office did their homework."

Now, the Vikings and their fans hope Williams can bring some help to the much-maligned Minnesota defense.




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