Seattle Seahawks second-year defensive tackle Jesse Williams has been turning heads throughout this offseason. The former University of Alabama standout has been throwing his substantial weight around quite a bit in practice recently, according to bystanders and teammates. Additionally, Williams appears to be in the best shape of his life after spending his entire rookie year on injured reserve following knee surgery.
The rookie-year setback was discouraging, given the number of people in Seattle who had faith in Williams and his immense potential. While he might have been viewed by the public as merely a fifth-round draft pick, Williams actually came equipped with the size, strength and (perhaps most importantly) versatility to make an immediate impact in the NFL, particularly with the Seahawks.
After all, it’s no secret that head coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn value versatility above all else in their players, and the former Alabama lineman known as “Tha Monstar” clearly fits the bill. Having experience at both defensive tackle positions – as well as the athleticism to slide out and play defensive end in certain situations – it’s no wonder Williams has drawn comparisons to former Seahawk Red Bryant.
However, at the moment, Seattle already has a rock-solid anchor at the nose tackle position in Brandon Mebane, as well as a versatile starter next to him in Tony McDaniel, who coincidentally had a heck of a 2013 season. Regardless, that hardly means Williams will be riding the pine.
Seattle believes very strongly in rotating their defensive linemen in order to preserve their strength and stamina throughout the game and season. That should allow Williams plenty of opportunities to show what he can do. Amazingly enough, at 6-foot-3 325 pounds, he has already proven the ability to make plays sideline to sideline.
While most players his size usually try to restrict their movement to the trenches, Williams has shown the hustle and determination expected of a former two-time national champion thus far at Seahawks OTAs. Of course, given his strengths as a player, Williams will probably make his bones as a run-stuffer early in his career. He obviously still has room to grow as a pass-rusher, as his college numbers would seem to indicate (only 1.5 sacks in two seasons).
During his time at Alabama, however, Williams was a vital member of a No. 1 defense that dominated college football on their way to back-to-back national titles in 2012-13. Coincidentally, those were the only two seasons Williams spent with the Crimson Tide, deciding to end his college career while he was still on top.
His impact with Seattle could be similar to his time at Alabama, meaning he will essentially be a “space-eater.” Due to his size and strength, Williams has the innate ability to take on multiple blockers and free up teammates for one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities. With Seattle’s No. 1 ranked defense surrounding him, that trait could make Williams a valuable (and popular) commodity.