2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nate Williams - OLB, Ohio State

Jamie Sabau

A productive DE at OSU that is a "tweener" and has a bit of an injury history.

Because the Colts have so many holes to fill, there are a lot of guys we're looking at that fall into the "late round" category, especially on Defense. They can give you the depth you need at positions where you want to give guys a blow or two during a long series, or have specialists when you get real good. A guy who could add some depth is OLB Nate Williams from Ohio State.

Williams played in 45 career games for the Buckeyes, including nine as a true Freshman, starting 20 of them. He amassed 131 tackles overall in his 4+ years, including 12 sacks, 24 tackles for loss, an interception, and three forced fumbles. He has experience playing both with his hand on the ground and standing up, which is why he's a natural fit to flip to a 3-4 OLB.

The biggest red flag for Williams is the season-ending knee injury he had in Game 1 of 2011, which required both arthroscopic surgery, as well as micro-fracture surgery, which is never a good thing. He did come back in 2012 and looked completely healthy, but there's always a concern with knee injuries that once you get the first, you're more susceptible to them in the future. His size is also going to be a deterrent to a lot of teams, as he's a little bigger than the prototypical OLB, but not big enough to be a DE.

If I were playing GM, Williams might be a guy to look at as an undrafted Free Agent, if he makes it that far. However, while I think the Colts need depth at pass rusher, there are plenty of guys without an injury history that I think should get a look first. Obviously I'm not talking with the guy, or watching specific tape, but my though is he's a UFA for a Colts, but not draftable.

Scouting Profile from NFL.com:

Strengths

Tough, instinctive player. Upper body power. Challenges the lateral movement of tackles whether playing with his hand down or standing up (and on the left or right side), can accelerate to the quarterback if his man overextends. Contain on bootlegs and misdirection, chases down backs even if they get an advantage on stop-start moves in the backfield.

Weaknesses

Left knee must check out medically after having microfracture and athroscopic surgery last fall. A lack of bulk allowsbetter linemen to stone Williams’ advances and control him on the edge. A bit of a 'tweener. His get-off, flexibility and hand usage are not quite enough for him to be an elite pass rusher.

NFL Comparison

Erik Walden

CBS NFL Draft Scout Profile:

Strengths: Williams has a ripped upper body with swelled up arms and good bulk throughout his frame. He uses his aggressive hands to deliver a punch to blockers at the point of attack and shows good take-on strength to hold his own against the run. Williams is used to standing up near the line and was often moved all over the defensive front as a blitzer, rushing from different angles. He has experience dropping in space, displaying good instincts in space and fluidity to pick up targets out of the backfield. Williams closes fast in pursuit and plays extremely active, but also read and reacts well.

Weaknesses: Williams lacks elite size and length for the position and has some 'tweener traits. He plays light at the line and can be too easily blocked or driven out of plays, struggling to consistently anchor. Williams takes over aggressive angles and needs to play more controlled and decisive to finish tackles, almost as if he plays too fast to consistently break down. He needs to keep his emotions in check and stay disciplined and play smarter.

NFL Comparison: Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Atlanta Falcons - Like Sidbury, Williams will be labeled as a 'tweener and the past durability issues could come back to haunt him.

Stats from Sports-Reference.com

Combine Measurements:

Height Weight 40 Time Bench Broad Jump Vertical 3 Cone Drill 20 Yd. Shuttle
6'3" 241 4.88 24 9'5" 35" 6.99 4.44
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