It’s been quite some time since the San Diego Chargers have had a dominant pass rusher to call their own. Shaun Phillips had nearly a decade on consistently solid production in lightning bolts, but now he has moved on to the rival Denver Broncos via free agency. The new regime in San Diego looked to put its stamp on the franchise in the 2013 NFL Draft, and one potential key to that materializing out on the field is outside linebacker Tourek Williams.
Jonathan Cyprien may have gotten all of the pre-draft Florida International hype, but Williams was quietly just as good of an NFL prospect. He was a disruptive player during his time at FIU which is exactly what you want from an edge defender in a 3-4 defense. His skill-set features more power than quickness, but Williams still has an initial burst that can get by opposing linemen. The use of leverage is key to his pass rushing technique so he won’t need much refinement in terms of technique.
Some players at rush outside linebacker are only tailored to get upfield and pressure the quarterback, but Williams is a more than capable run defender. He holds up well at the point of attack and shows tremendous instincts for diagnosing plays. At 6’4” 262-pounds there’s no doubt he has the build to be a dominant edge rusher at the NFL level.
Training camp will be a great place for the Bolts to begin cultivating that natural ability that Williams possesses. The team signed Dwight Freeney to take the place of the injured Melvin Ingram earlier in the offseason, but Williams could definitely be in the mix on the other side where a combination of Larry English, Jarret Johnson, and Thomas Keiser figure to be in the mix. Reps for rush outside linebackers are plentiful as defensive coordinators like to keep guys fresh in hopes of getting to the quarterback more consistently. If Williams can impress in camp and during the preseason, spot on the roster should be the least of the sixth round pick’s worries.
Shawne Merriman was the last dominant, homegrown edge rusher that the Bolts were able to produce. The jury is still out on the injured Ingram, but Williams could provide an instant impact as a rookie to fill that void in 2013.