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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Dan Williams

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 327 | College: Tennessee
 
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Overview

Williams is the first to admit it, he was once a self-described "dollar menu" guy.

Early in his Tennessee career, poor eating habits and a less than enthusiastic approach to conditioning prevented the physical run-stuffer from reaching his potential.

In the last two years, especially with the arrival of former Vols head coach Lane Kiffin and defensive guru Monte Kiffin, Williams learned the path to football success doesn't lead through the drive-thru window at McDonald's. A drop in weight led to improved quickness, which allowed Williams to play in the opponent's backfield on a regular basis in 2009.

After he was benched at various points during the 2007 and 2008 seasons due to inconsistent play and stamina issues, Williams dedicated himself to the training room prior to his final campaign. Thought of as a possible NFL backup type entering the 2009 campaign, he has emerged as one of the elite defensive tackle prospects available.

There were always flashes of what Williams could be during his Tennessee career, his vastly improved burst, combined with his already impressive strength, made him one of the most feared interior linemen in the Southeastern Conference as a senior. In three seasons before the Kiffins arrived in Knoxville, the right defensive tackle recorded 90 tackles combined. As a senior, he registered 70.

At Memphis East High School, Williams was an All-State selection by the Associated Press and the Tennessee Sportswriters Association in 2004. He was an honorable mention All-Southern pick by the Orlando Sentinel, adding All-Metro honors as a member of the Elite team selected by the Memphis Commercial Appeal in 2003, as well as All-Region and Most Valuable Defensive Lineman.

As a senior, Williams' statistical totals included 132 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and two recoveries, posting a season-best 12 tackles vs. Memphis University School. As junior in 2003, he totaled 85 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and four recoveries. He finished his sophomore year with 75 tackles, 10 for lost yardage and two sacks. Those totals helped his team reach the playoffs in his last two seasons.

Williams enrolled at Tennessee in 2005, spending the season redshirting. He saw limited action in six games behind All-SEC left defensive tackle Turk McBride in 2006. He had just two tackles, but one was good for a sack in the Marshall clash.

The 2007 season saw Williams move to left defensive tackle. He started 10 of the 14 games in which he appeared, collecting 40 tackles (19 solo) with a pair of sacks and 6.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also came up with a crucial block of a field goal attempt to preserve a victory over Kentucky.

As a junior, an illegal chop block on Williams would hobble him through most of the season with a bad ankle. He started nine games, appearing in 12. He made 8.5 stops for loss with nine pressures, posting 48 tackles, as he and safety Eric Berry were the only Vols to make at least three tackles in each game during one of the worst seasons in Tennessee history.

The administration dismissed longtime head coach Phil Fulmer, injecting "new blood" into the coaching staff with Lane Kiffin. His father, Monte, came on board after a successful NFL career as a defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. The change in attitude and work ethic by Williams led to him starting every game for the first time in his career. Along with finishing third on the team with 70 tackles (36 solo), he had 2.5 sacks, nine stops behind the line of scrimmage and nine pressures.

Analysis

Pass rush: Relies on good to very good power as a bull rusher to collapse the pocket. Uses a swim move effectively, but lacks the burst and lateral agility to be a consistent factor in the pass rush. Works hard, but has only phone booth quickness. Requires an open lane to close. Alert defender that gets his hands up in the passing lanes.

Run defense: Greatest asset to the defense due to his build, strength and ability to locate the football. Good burst off the snap to explode into the offensive lineman. Tough to move off the line of scrimmage, as he naturally sprawls his feet, keeps his pads low and has the upper-body strength to hold up even to double-teams. Strong hands and an effective swim move to disengage. Natural candidate to move to nose guard. Keeps his head up and finds the ball. Only phone booth quickness, but hustles laterally and even downfield in pursuit.

Explosion: Good initial burst off the snap. Good upper-body strength to shock his opponent and quickly separate. Needs a lane to gather momentum and provide a big hit, but can deliver a jarring blow when he gets one.

Strength: Arguably his best trait. Low center of gravity due to a thick, wide lower body which helps in the leverage battle up front. Good use of hands and good upper-body strength to stack and shed in the running game. Relies on his strength as a bull rusher to collapse the pocket from the interior. Slides off blocks to make the play at or near the line of scrimmage.

Tackling: Enough strength to slow and even pull down some runners with one arm as he remains engaged with the blocker. Brings his weight with him as a hitter, resulting in some big collisions. Provides enough pop that he doesn't have to wrap up to knock down most ballcarriers, but improved in doing so as a senior. Good vision to locate the ball and can redirect surprisingly well at his size. Hustles laterally and downfield to make the tackle from behind.

Intangibles: Re-dedicated himself after the hiring of Lane Kiffin. Was moved to the nose and his draft stock "skyrocketed" as a senior. Was characterized by Monte Kiffin as a "undrafted free agent" based on film before the 2009 season … Has struggled maintaining his weight in the past. Has been as heavy as 357 pounds and ballooned to over 340 during the off-season last year. Played at 320-325 this season … Majored in legal studies and has aspirations to be a lawyer after his football career is over.

Career Notes

Williams started 32-of-45 games for Tennessee as the right defensive tackle … Recorded 150 tackles (79 solo) with seven sacks for minus-47 yards … Registered 25.0 stops for losses totaling 82 yards, adding 22 quarterback pressures … Recovered one fumble, deflected a pass and blocked one field goal.

2009 Season

Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection … Filled the leadership void on the defensive line created by the graduation of end Robert Ayers, starting all thirteen games at right defensive end … Recorded a career-best 70 tackles (36 solos), ranking third on the team … Posted nine stops for losses of 31 yards, including 2.5 sacks for minus-21 yards and nine quarterback pressures … Also caused a fumble … Led a unit that allowed 318.77 yards per game … Made 68 plays vs. the run, holding those ballcarriers to 151 yards (2.22 yards per carry) and no touchdowns, as he stopped the opponent nine times for loss and five times at the line of scrimmage for no gain … Made 12 of his running plays inside the red zone, including two on goal-line stands … Registered six third-down hits vs. the ground attack and two more vs. the aerial game.

2008 Season

Williams started nine games at right defensive tackle, coming off the bench vs. Alabama-Birmingham, South Carolina and Vanderbilt … Suffered a high ankle sprain from an illegal chop block in the Alabama game that force him to see limited action in the latter part of the schedule … Finished seventh on the team with 48 tackles (23 solos), adding 1.5 sacks for minus-7 yards, 8.5 stops for losses of 19 yards and nine pressures … Also deflected a pass … While the offense struggled, the Vols' defense ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16.75 points per game, as Tennessee led the SEC and placed third nationally in total defense (263.5 yards per game) and 12th vs. the run (103.08 yards per game).

2007 Season

Williams shifted to right defensive tackle, starting 10 games while seeing reserve action vs. California, Georgia, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt … Recorded 40 tackles (19 solo), seventh-best on the team … Added two sacks for minus-18 yards … Registered 6.5 stops for losses of 31 yards to go with three QB pressures … The defense struggled with injuries and inconsistency, especially on the front wall, as the Vols finished 69th in the nation vs. the run (164.64 yards per game) and ranked 70th in total defense (403.29 yards per game) as Williams battled weight issues.

2006 Season

Played in six games, seeing action vs. California, Marshall, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Penn State (Outback Bowl) behind Turk McBride at left defensive tackle … Recorded just two tackles, but had a 1-yard sack vs. Marshall.

2005 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2008: Suffered a high ankle sprain and knee bruise from an illegal chop block vs. Alabama (10/25), as the injury relegated him to reserve duty vs. South Carolina (11/01) and Vanderbilt (11/22).

Agility Tests

Campus: 5.27 in the 40-yard dash … 1.80 10-yard dash … 3.07 20-yard dash … 4.87 20-yard shuttle … 7.88 three-cone drill … 32-inch vertical jump … 8'0" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times … 33 1/2-inch arm length … 10 1/8-inch hands.

High School

Attended Memphis (Tenn.) East High School, playing football for head coach Wayne Randall … Helped the team reach the state playoffs during his last two seasons … All-State selection by the Associated Press and the Tennessee Sportswriters Association in 2004 … Honorable mention All-Southern pick by the Orlando Sentinel, adding All-Metro honors as a member of the Elite team selected by the Memphis Commercial Appeal in 2003, as well as All-Region and Most Valuable Defensive Lineman … As a senior, Williams' statistical totals included 132 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and two recoveries, posting a season-best 12 tackles vs. Memphis University School … As junior in 2003, he totaled 85 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and four recoveries … Finished his sophomore year with 75 tackles, 10 for lost yardage and two sacks.

Personal

Legal Studies major … Born 6/01/87 … Resides in Memphis, Tennessee.

Video
 
Latest News
04/25/2010 - A closer look at the Cardinals' picks: Round 1/26 -- Dan Williams, NT, 6-2, 327, Tennessee: The Cardinals were ecstatic when Williams fell this far. Nose tackle was one of the team's top two needs, and Williams is the space eater Ken Whisenhunt has wanted for three years.

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