(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams).
Name: Sylvester Williams
Position: Defensive Tackle
College: North Carolina
Age: 24 (born Nov. 24, 1988)
Honors: Williams was named first-team All-ACC at defensive tackle after compiling 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2012.
Key Stat: That stat line is all the explanation necessary for why the Cowboys might value Williams as the 18th overall pick. Dallas needs a defensive tackle who can collapse the pocket and rush the passer, and Williams fits that with his penchant for making tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Where He’s Headed: Most thought Williams was perhaps a second or third round pick when the draft cycle began back in January. He still isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Star Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson or Sharrif Floyd, who project to perhaps go in the top 15 picks, but his workout numbers have propelled him into the first round discussion.
How He Helps the Cowboys: Both lines need improvement – that’s what you’re likely to hear about the Cowboys’ draft needs regardless of where you read it. Williams gives Dallas a presence in the middle to help stop the run, and his strength would obviously be his ability to help with the pass rush. He’s also much more likely to still be around at No. 18 than some of the other defensive tackles in this draft.
Scout’s Take: Plays as the one and three in this scheme. … Is very quick up the field. … Hard to control when he is in the gap. … Nice initial quickness. … See him play with technique. … Good arm over move. … Can get penetration up the field and can be disruptive. … Physical to take on the trap. … Will fight the down the block. … Is a hard player to move off the ball. … Can keep the blocker flat along the line. … Will play on his feet but when tripped up, very quick to get off the ground. … Really nice job of chasing the ball; when he sees it, he goes after it. … Has power to get push inside. … Aware to play the screen. … Can retrace his steps when he gets up the field and work down back to the ball. … Can be physical at the point of attack. … Has to deal with plenty of double-team blocks. … Effort is outstanding, made a sack while crawling on the ground. … Can play anywhere along the line. … Like his ability to chance directions and make plays. … Of the second tier defensive tackles, he and Bennie Logan are my favorites. … Plays with more consistent effort than Kawann Short of Purdue. – Bryan Broaddus