Quinnen Williams: the Blue-Chip Prospect You’ve Never Heard Of

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Quinnen Williams
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20: Quinnen Williams #92 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts to a play during the first half of the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Alabama won 58-21. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

Alabama redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is only a one-year starter at the collegiate level but has been such a menace for opposing teams that he’s caught the attention of many NFL teams. After being stuck behind the pipeline of Alabama players to turn towards the NFL, Williams has started to cement himself into top 10 consideration.

First, for those who don’t know a blue-chip prospect refers to a player who could be elite at the next level. It is the very few high-end prospects who are referred to as “safe” or high-end instant impact players in some cases. Every draft differs in the number of blue-chip prospects it has but the number is limited in most cases. These prospects are often regarded as high ceiling, high floor players by many.

As mentioned above, Williams has been on an absolute tear this year for opposing teams. With only eight games under his belt as a true starter, the defensive tackle has already accumulated 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. And those numbers don’t even count the endless pressures Williams has gotten on quarterbacks.

Quinnen Williams: the Best Blue-Chip Prospect You’ve Never Heard Of

The Get Off/Leverage

Right off the bat, you can see just how explosive Williams is. I mean a 290-pound man should not be able to explode off the line of scrimmage like that.

After he explodes off the line he can beat the offensive linemen with pure speed and power. As shown above, the two interior guards and the center are all pulling on the play. Williams quickly recognized this and used his speed to blow past the team’s left guard. He then uses great hand usage and his strength to make sure he stays clear from the center. After beating both the lineman it is just him and the running back, who he just destroys.

As said in the tweet above, Williams’ get off is so exceptional he beats the offensive guard before the quarterback has even received the snap. This is the type of explosiveness you cannot teach.

Power

Williams has the first step quickness and leverage to get underneath interior lineman’s pads, but from there he uses his power to really do some damage.

As said above, Williams is so explosive off the snap he can get in the offensive lineman’s face before they are completely out of their stance. From there, the play above shows all the traits you want out of your interior defensive lineman. First off is the power and hand usage. Hand usage will be talked about below but is worth mentioning on this play as well due to how powerful his first punch is. Once Williams makes contacts with the lineman he can use his initial, well-placed punch to throw the lineman off. From there he has the power to fully extend his arm, creating separation between him and the offensive guard, all while driving him back towards the quarterback. When the lineman tries to regain his leverage and push back Williams pushed him aside and makes the sack, resulting in a safety.

Here Williams can straight up body the center and get into the backfield with ease. Williams first wins the leverage battle, constantly being able to get lower than the opposing offensive lineman he faces. After getting underneath him Williams can use his power to lift the center straight up and just drive him back. Because he has already stood the lineman straight up he can then toss him aside, almost like it’s nothing, and be in the backfield to cause the tackle for a loss.

Hand Usage/Pass Rush Ability

In today’s NFL, it is important you can not only stop the run but also create some interior pressure as an interior defensive lineman. With the way the league is trending it is harder to find good defensive tackles that can consistently create pressure along the interior. This means that if you can do so, then it becomes very attractive for NFL teams. Of course, this is one area Williams checks the box at.

It’s true that Williams has some of the most violent hands seen from a player coming out in quite some time. Williams understands exactly the timing and where to place his hands on opposing offensive linemen so well.

In the clip above, his hands are so quick and violent that it allows him to get past the offensive guard with ease without being touched. In fact, Williams was able to beat the guard so fast and easily it literally brought him to his knees. His hands are perfectly placed, countering the guard’s hands before even being touched. Then as he is passing the guard he makes great use of a swim move to make sure he gets into the backfield clean.

It is true what they say. Pressures do in fact lead to turnovers. And that is just the case here.

There are so many levels to dissect from the play above. First, let’s start with the counter move. From the moment the ball is snapped, you can see just how active Williams’ hands are. He is already ready to go to war in the trenches you could say.

Once Williams gets out of his stance his first move is to bat away the center’s hands and keep them away from his body. This is a fast and swift move that many would miss on first glance but without it, Williams might not stay clean from the lineman and get swallowed up by the play. But instead, he can bat the offensive lineman’s hand away and hit him with a club/swim combo move. This move puts him in the backfield where it is just him and the quarterback. The quarterback sees this and makes a bad decision and throws an interception. All, of course, thanks to the quarterback pressure put on by Williams.

Here, Williams shows great explosiveness and burst out of his stance. Williams can get past the offensive center before he knows what hit him. The quick burst and swim move used by Williams makes it look easy for him to get into the backfield. After that, he can track the ball quickly and run down the ball carrier, adding to his tackle for loss column for the season.

Run Stuffer

While creating pressure on the quarterback is a good thing, it is also important to be able to clog up gaps and stop the run. In the play above you see Williams create separation between him and the offensive lineman. Normally on passing plays, you see him attacking downhill fast. However, on this play, he recognizes the run and holds his gap responsibility down. Meanwhile, he is also keeping an eye on where the ball carrier is going. Once the running back makes his decision on what hole to hit, so does Williams. Because he was able to keep so much separation between him and the lineman, he can detach quickly and get off the block to make a play. This results in Williams making the tackle for a loss on the play and causing it to be a third and long scenario for Missouri.

Here, Williams wins the leverage battle and drives the center back with his power/strength. From there, it’s as easy as him shedding the block and making the tackle in the backfield.

First off, I know that what was described above certainly is no easy task, but it sure does look like it when watching Williams.

Again, you see Williams get major pushback here. He is once again able to generate the leverage and power needed to knock the offensive guard off balance and drive him three yards into the backfield. Of course, Williams doesn’t stop there. After he has already driven the guard three yards back, he then quickly sheds the block, disrupting the whole play. While Williams might not have been the guy to make the tackle, him pushing the lineman back made the running back change directions, ending in a tackle for a loss. A very impressive play by Williams.

Last Word

Overall, the power, hand usage, explosiveness, and leverage Williams creates could make him a handful for NFL offensive linemen in the future. Sure, he has some spots in his game he needs to improve on, I mean after all no prospect is perfect, but man he is headed in the right direction.

Of course, him being a redshirt sophomore might hold some back on if he will declare or not but after the season he is having, I don’t see why not.

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