NFL Draft stock of Alabama's Tim Williams clouded after arrest for gun charges

Alabama edge rusher Tim Williams -- who checks in as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 overall prospect -- was arrested early Thursday morning on charges of carrying a pistol without a permit.

The details of the arrest were still filtering in Thursday evening, but this much is obvious -- Williams' arrest is a huge red flag for NFL scouts and continues an alarming trend of high-ranking prospects at Alabama getting into trouble.

Williams' arrest follows a similar run-in with police from fellow Alabama superstar Cam Robinson (the top offensive lineman on NFLDraftScout.com's board), who along with Tide defensive back Laurence "Hootie" Jones was arrested back in May on weapons and drug charges. Those charges have since been dismissed due to a lack of evidence, with Robinson and Jones back on Alabama's roster.

Their run-ins with authorities follow arrests in the past two years from former Alabama standouts Cyrus Jones, Jarran Reed and Kenyan Drake, each of whom have now "graduated" on to the NFL.

Like his former teammates, there is no questioning Williams' talent on the football field. Though he lacks the production one might expect of a potential first-round pick, Williams possesses a terrific blend of burst and bend off the edge, making him arguably the Tide's top pass rusher.

Through the first four games this season Williams has recorded six tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. These numbers tie him for second on the Tide in sacks, with returning All-American Jonathan Allen and the underrated Ryan Anderson each contributing three sacks thus far. The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Williams was second to Allen a season ago in sacks, registering 11.5 among his career-high 19 tackles.

From a scouting perspective, Williams ranks as one of this year's better pass-rush specialists.

He possesses the quick twitch and snap anticipation to easily cross the face of would-be blockers. Williams isn't just quick, he's flexible, dipping under the reach of tackles to turn the corner and close quickly. Williams is also surprisingly powerful, generating good push on simple bull rushes because he keeps his pad level down and has excellent leg drive, as evidenced by his 555-pound squat. Williams has developed into a professional pass rusher, incorporating active, powerful hands and a deadly spin move back inside to complement his speed rush.

Of course, if a team is going to be willing to invest a high pick in a player who is essentially a specialist, it will need to be confident that Williams is a quality person off the field, as well. Thursday's news is obviously damaging in that regard.

Details of the arrest were still coming out Thursday evening.

Williams and a friend not on the Alabama football team were reportedly found by police in a black Chevrolet Impala at approximately 1 a.m. in a Tuscaloosa parking lot. Police approached the car due to the smell of burnt marijuana and discovered a bag of the drug and a gun in the center console.

According to Alabama beat writer Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Williams produced a receipt for the gun but was arrested and transported to Tuscaloosa County Jail because the proof of purchase does not qualify as a valid pistol permit, at least not the kind that allows someone to "conceal carry."

Alabama head coach Nick Saban released a short statement following Williams' arrest.

"This kind of behavior is not condoned in our program," Saban said. "We are currently in the process of reviewing all of the information. Once we have a complete understanding of the situation, we will determine what we need to do in terms of the appropriate discipline."

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