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7 Days to the Draft: Tennessee NT, Dan Williams

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

Tennessee's Dan Williams is a player who often gets mock drafted to the Patriots. He appears to be an ideal 3-4 NT and that's why I believe some people have him going at #22. When there was a question about Vince Wilfork's return to the Patriots, Williams seemed like a perfect fit: he led SEC linemen in tackles this past season. Williams can hold the double team and has the strength to push the pocket. He's a three year starter in the SEC. He can collapse the pocket and stuff the run (although he struggles at reaching the QB). He's projected to be the first 3-4 NT off the board in the draft. However, since the Patriots managed to keep Wilfork, the need for Williams has diminished- but that hasn't stopped some people from mocking him to us. Williams, if drafted by us, might force us to utilize a 4-3 defense to have both him and Wilfork on the field at the same time- that would be a terror to offenses everywhere. However, since he doesn't fill a need, should the Patriots draft him?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump. Scouting

Height: 6-2. Weight: 327.
Projected 40 Time: 5.25.
Combine 40 Time: 5.17.
Benchx225: 27.

Player Comparison: Domata Peko. Peko is a dominant 1-technique for the Bengals and is a true force against the run, but not much of a pass rusher.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review! Scouting

03/12/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Dan Williams: Tennessee, 6-2, 329, 1-2: Williams was one of the biggest benefactors when Monte Kiffin was brought in to coach the defense in 2009. In one season, Williams went from a mid-round prospect to a potential first- or second-rounder after he led SEC defensive linemen with 61 tackles. This wide body is built for power and uses it effectively despite the fact he is learning how to stay low and use leverage. Williams has excellent straight-ahead quickness and backs that up with sheer power to keep blockers going backward. He has awareness and reaction that help overcome a lack of elite lateral agility. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, Sports/USA TODAY Scouting

Williams was a three-year starter for the Vols and had a breakout season in 2009. He has an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism for an interior defender. He plays with great pad level and a natural base to anchor effectively versus the run. He is a powerful bull-rusher who can collapse the pocket in the passing game. Williams can be inconsistent with his effort but does play with an attitude (can be nasty) in the trenches when he wants to. He is tough to move due to great initial punch and good balance and will draw many double-teams on the inside. He doesn't have great initial quickness to penetrate gaps but is a better run defender than pass rusher in base defenses. He feels pad pressure well and understands how to leverage blockers to maintain gap responsibilities. Williams will fit best as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme and will improve his draft status if concerns about his weight and work ethic are answered.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review!

Verdict: No. There's no need for him on our team and there's no spot. We have sophomore Ron Brace waiting in the wings and learning the position so there's no need for another big NT on the team. However, if Williams is around at #22, look for us to trade down with a team who has a huge need for a NT- and look for them to overpay.

Williams doesn't have the "jump of the paper" factor that would force me to disregard need and take him. He lacks the stamina to play deep in the games and, although he was a three year starter, he lacks the consistency a veteran player should show at this point in their college career.