Alabama is a powerhouse in college that is constantly churning out NFL ready talent come draft time each April. Jonah Williams is likely to be at the top of the schools list for draft-able talent this time around and the Buccaneers would be wise to take a look.
Jonah William’s College Career
Jonah Williams has been a starter since setting foot on campus at Alabama. Williams has played both tackle positions and as a true Junior, pitched a season long shut out allowing zero sacks on the season.
Over a span of 1,382 total pass blocking snaps in college Jonah Williams allowed a measely 5 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and 31 total hurries. Simply put, the man was dominating the SEC’s best edge rushers.
Williams will enter this years draft as the consesus top tackle and overall lineman available. The Buccaneers are in a prime spot drafting 5th overall and may have a shot at solidifying another piece of the offensive line for the long haul.
Excellent hand placement has been a staple to Williams’ success at Alabama. Williams has overcome a disadvantage with his arm length by understanding and utilizing hand swipes and swats with precision to disable potential pass rushers from landing a hand into his chest. Another aspect of Jonah Williams’ game that stands out is how well he anchors against contact. When engaged, Williams absorbs initial contact and controls the situation.
Williams is not a one dimensional tackle either, excelling both against the run and in pass protection. Williams shows consistent timing when pulling and creates some massive lanes for the run game. There is very good snap and acceleration into contact which will translate well to the NFL. Williams displays advanced body control and flexibility. Very good mover in space and has top notch positional IQ for a true junior. Williams consistently is prepared for his opponents every move and that can’t be highlighted enough. “Athleticism, preparation and technique” are what Williams mentioned at the combine that are his greatest strengths.
Length. Jonah Williams measured in with 33-5/8” arms. Is this a deal breaker? No. Is it important? Well... kinda. Longer reach is always an advantage over shorter reach for a tackle. First to contact is important for an offensive lineman, in particular a tackle that is dealing with speed off the edge.
Before anyone worries too much about arm length though lets not forgot that some top tackles have easily overcome similar issues such as Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Joe Staley and former undrafted free agent turned Pro Bowler, Donald Penn.
Furthermore, when asked at the combine about his arm length, Williams had a response ready. Jonah Williams in response to those very concerns: “I don’t think necessarily that it’s a huge deal... I’m proud of the way that I play and approach the game... so if my fingers were an 1/8th of an inch longer I’d be good enough? So I think the way that I play is what defines me as a football player.”
Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Jonah Williams
Williams would almost immediately rival Ali Marpet as the team’s top offensive lineman. Reason enough to draft him, right? Let’s not forgot that Demar Dotson’s career is nearing it’s end and the tackle spot in general on both sides is a bit worrisome despite the resigning of the Iron Man himself, Donovan Smith.
Teaming Smith up with Williams would arguably be the best move that Tampa Bay could make this entire off-season aside from hiring Bruce Arians. In order for Winston and the offense to succeed, he will need time to allow Arians vertical attack to flourish. Williams could be the final piece to an otherwise shaky offensive line from a year ago.
Will It Happen?
It all comes down to what happens with the top 4 picks of the draft. Should Jonah Williams be available at pick 5, barring a top defensive end lasting, it’s a true no brainer. Williams is the top offensive lineman and is a hell of a prospect.
The tackle position is vastly more important than any non pass rusher that the team could be interested in and you don’t get the opportunity to take a franchise tackle very often, Tampa Bay may be in position to do just that in this up coming draft.
This is a move that needs to happen if the opportunity is there. Solidify this offensive line Jason Licht, let your quarterback and run game rise to it’s potential once and for all.