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Bucs Draft Profile: Defensive Tackle, Raequan Williams

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Potential late-round defensive line depth, from a Power-5 school

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Javon Kinlaw has been a commonly mocked player to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first-round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Usually, this is because the team misses out on one of the “Top-4” offensive tackles in this year’s class. The fact defensive tackle isn’t a commonly mocked second or even third-round position for the Bucs, means it’s more about Kinlaw’s talent and upside than it is about position need.

The second part of this statement doesn’t mean defensive tackle isn’t an area of need, it just isn’t a top position of concern. So if it isn’t Kinlaw, we’re likely looking at a late day two or day three pick being spent by Jason Licht in search of more line depth than the team currently has.

One of those potential targets, is Michigan State Spartans defensive tackle, Raequan Williams.

Raequan Williams’ Collegiate Career

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Williams began his career with Michigan State as a redshirt Freshman in 2016 getting three starts as the team’s nose tackle. In 2017, Williams became a full-time starter receiving the Spartans’ Iron Man Award coming up with 31 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the year.

His Junior season brought a career-high 53 tackles and another Iron Man Award and his first AP All Big-Ten selection. Williams’ final season in 2019 resulted in his being selected by the AP for First-Team All Big-Ten for the second-straight season, being voted as a team captain, and his third-straight Iron Man Award.

In his four-years playing for Michigan State, Williams totaled 157 tackles (57 solo), 29 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and forced three fumbles while also batting down eight passes.

Pros

If you can guarantee anything about Raequan Williams stepping onto the football field for your favorite NFL franchise, it’s that he isn’t going to be the guy you see quitting on any play he’s a part of.

Team captain at Michigan State, could have left after his Junior season, and may have had better draft stock had he done so. Won the Iron Man award three years running for his strength and conditioning while starting 41 straight games for the Spartans.

Bottom line, nobody is going to outwork him. His efforts to do what’s best for his team has translated to his taking snaps up and down the defensive line, showing the ability to penetrate and push the offensive line.

Cons

There are questions about how much fight there is in his play. Doesn’t do well once an opposing blocker gets good leverage or position on him, and tends to win quickly or not at all.

As defensive linemen go, he isn’t at the top of the pack when it comes to athleticism, and it really shows when he gets moving one way while the play goes another.

Struggles seeing the field and finding the ball while engaged and gives up leverage in pursuit of the ball carrier. Not someone who’s going to jump off the screen at the snap, but more likely will be a surprise participant in the backfield when he does make a play.

Not for a lack of effort, but a lack of elite talent. Everything he does comes from effort, and his ceiling is limited. Not completely sold he has a good ceiling as 3-4 lineman.

Why The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Raequan Williams

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

If his “cons” scare you, it’s important to remember we’re talking about a day three guy. If he becomes a starter, he’s a gem. If he lasts three years as a role player, it’s a good pick. The last part is more likely to happen, but there’s something to be said about those guys.

Williams won’t ever be caught unprepared to play. He may be outmatched, but he’s going to give his coaches everything he’s got, and more. And sometimes, those guys can win a rep. A big rep.

To me, this player has practice squad written all over him. But his work ethic combined with veteran leadership and solid coaching could really catapult him to a place of importance within the roster as a situational player and special teams contributor.

Should It Happen?

When we’re talking depth and late-round draft picks it’s all about potential, character and special teams. Williams won’t be gunning on punts anytime soon, but if you want him in on a goal line stand or field goal crew, you know you’re getting everything he’s got for that rep.

Also, it’s important to never underestimate what these guys can do when they’re hungry enough and well coached. Williams has been through hard times, so being a back-up for an NFL squad isn’t going to feel like the end of the world for him. It also isn’t going to be enough for him to get comfortable with either.

He’s a ‘glue-guy’, and your roster can never have enough of those. So if he’s there in the later selections for Jason Licht, he could do a lot worse than Raequan Williams.

Check out this episode of the Locked On Bucs Podcast!

Poll

How do you feel about Raequan Williams for the Bucs in the 2020 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Draft him no matter what
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    Trade back candidate
    (4 votes)
  • 69%
    I wouldn’t mind it
    (77 votes)
  • 20%
    There are better options
    (23 votes)
  • 3%
    Nope
    (4 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now