Player name: Avery Williamson
H/W: 6'1 246
Measurables: 4.59 40, 25 bench reps, 30.5" vertical jump, 10'0" broad jump, 7.11 3 cone drill
- Intelligence - Williamson is one of the most instinctive linebackers that I've seen in awhile in college. He had to be in order to play, much less start in HC Mark Stoops' defense. Stoops was the defensive coordinator at Florida State prior to taking the UK job. To get an idea of how much Williamson had to work to understand the complexity of Stoops' defenses, you can go here. In the South Carolina tape, I wanted to see how he would handle trying to cover mobile quarterbacks (the Gamecocks have two), it went relatively well as he was in the right place at the right time in most cases.
- Tackling - Williamson has great tackling form and is a big hitter to boot. It is rare to see arm tackles from him. He wraps up properly and makes sure to finish the tackle. However, I did notice on the Vanderbilt tape that he could've been called for targeting/roughing the passer on a sack given the new targeting rules (which NO ONE likes). If you're looking for a tackling machine, he is one (over 200 in 2 years). It was very rare that he did not display the proper tackle form.
- Character - Work ethic is off the charts. It's clear that he puts in the work to make himself better. Commands the defense like a true field general. Played in 2013 with various ailments without complaint.
- Athleticism - Not the greatest athlete in the world and is locked into the inside position because of it. A step slow than one would like in pass defense. In the South Carolina tape, there was a draw play that sucked in the entire defense and the back was wide open. While a good reader, he needs to improve on reading screen plays. This is a correctable issue with time and more reps.
- Washing Machine - He tends to get "lost in the wash" and generally struggles to disengage his blocker and lacks the athleticism to make up for it. A year within an NFL strength and conditioning program will do wonders for him.
He was arguably the best player on that Wildcats defense full of freshmen and sophomores. Took over as the heir apparent of the middle linebacker role from current Denver Broncos LB Danny Trevathan (who has been pretty good with Denver). The pro comparison that I would make of Williamson is Zach Thomas. I'm not saying that he will be that good but both guys weren't the greatest athletes out there but got the job done consistently. If he has half the career that Thomas had, the Titans will have made a heck of a pick. It's pretty funny and awesome that Williamson goes from one of the best defensive minds in college (Stoops) to one of the best defensive minds in the NFL (Horton).
I like this pick a lot. It's not everyday that you get a potential franchise type of inside linebacker in the fifth round. The way I see how 2014 playing out for him is that he plays on special teams to start and gets gradual playing time on defense. Williamson can be the run defender/big hitter type of linebacker like a Patrick Willis while Wesley Woodyard plays the freelancing (to a certain extent) Navarro Bowman role. My question is, how fast can he learn the playbook and assume duties as the field general of the defense?