With Matt Kalil, Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan in place at left tackle, right tackle and center respectively, offensive line does not look like an urgent need for the Minnesota Vikings. Left guard Charlie Johnson is also in no danger of losing his starting job, but he is a very ordinary player and there are further questions at right guard with Brandon Fusco the frontrunner to win the starting job now that Geoff Schwartz has departed via free agency.
At the very least, adding some offensive line depth looks essential for the Vikings. They have re-signed Joe Berger and signed Seth Olsen in free agency, but both are interior players and there is scant depth behind Kalil and Loadholt at the tackle spots. A significant injury to one of the five starters could put the Vikings in a precarious position in short order.
Brennan Williams entered his senior season at North Carolina as a top tier offensive tackle prospect, but a torn labrum in his left shoulder limited him and he missed the final four games of the season after undergoing surgery. Despite missing the end of the season, he still earned All-ACC Honorable Mention from both coaches and the media, which is a testament to his talent. His recovery from shoulder surgery has prevented Williams from working out fully during the pre-draft process, and if he can’t work out at full capacity for teams prior to late-April his draft stock will surely suffer.
Tony Pauline of USA Today has reported the Vikings and Miami Dolphins showed a lot of interest in Williams at North Carolina’s Pro Day this week. So let’s take a closer look at Williams and see if he is a good fit for Minnesota.
Weight: 318 lbs.
– Has excellent size and overall athleticism
– Has long arms (34 inches), allowing him to cut off rush lanes and recover easily
– Has a strong upper body and plays with heavy hands
– Has NFL bloodlines (father Brent, defensive end for 11 seasons (1986-1996) with three teams)
– Shows solid anchor strength
– Is a very raw prospect, with just one full season as a starter and 22 collegiate starts
– Has durability concerns
– Is not particularly explosive off the ball
– Struggles to be agile when adjusting to moving targets
– Needs to refine his overall technique and develop better instincts
Williams will need time to develop into a starter at the next level, and landing with a good offensive line coach should benefit him greatly. He clearly looks the part of an offensive tackle, but I think his size and skill set could allow him to move to guard at some point and not miss a beat.
The Vikings could view Williams as a developmental tackle prospect, or perhaps as someone that can immediately compete with Fusco for the starting job at right guard. In any case, Williams’ upside makes him an intriguing option in the middle rounds if he checks out medically.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.