The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a potential state of transition on the defensive line, with defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robison heading into the final year of their contracts. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams will turn 33 prior to the start of next season as well, and finding his eventual heir apparent may be on the team’s radar during the NFL Draft later this month. With two first-round picks and a deep group to choose from, finding a defensive tackle that can make an immediate impact should not be a problem.
Sylvester Williams is mentioned in multiple mock drafts as an option for the Vikings with one of their two first-round picks (23rd and 25th overall). The North Carolina product started all 25 games he played for the Tar Heels after transferring from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, and he had an outstanding senior season that included 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks while earning All-ACC First Team honors.
Should the Vikings be interested in Williams? Let’s take a closer look at him.
Weight: 313 lbs.
– Is very quick off the ball and varies his burst effectively
– Has a naturally thick build
– Exhibits solid all-around strength
– Has experience playing across the defensive line
– Uses a swim move effectively to split, and generally holds up well against, double teams
– Needs to improve his overall awareness
– Struggles with consistency at times-has to answer questions about his work ethic
– Lacks ideal flexibility; can be easily influenced by blockers
– Has only played football for five years and is still fairly raw
– Shows only average quickness in pursuit
Williams’ versatility and potential to improve makes him an intriguing prospect, and the Vikings need a young player with upside at defensive tackle. He needs to continue to work and develop his skills, but seeing the example set by hard-working veterans like Allen, Robison and the incumbent Williams would do him a lot of good in Minnesota.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.