8

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Jesse Williams, DT Alabama

Jesse Williams

Alabama DT Jesse Williams

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: DT Jesse Williams

Player Information:

Jesse Williams, DT Alabama
6-4, 320 pounds
Hometown: Brisbane, Australia

STATS: College stats

NFL Combine:

Bench press: 30 reps

News and Notes:

Didn’t start playing football until he was 15 years old. … Played rugby and basketball before football. … Started career at Alabama as a five-technique DE before moving to nose tackle his senior season. … Totaled 37 tackles and two half sacks as a NT. … Also lined up as Alabama’s fullback in goal line packages. … Blocked a kick his senior season. … Has several tattoos, one of which on his hand says, “I stopped checking for monsters under the bed when I realized the monster is me.”

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • NFL.com: “Williams uses his size, consistent motor and supreme toughness to drain his opponents at the point of attack. His best NFL position is likely at nose tackle, but Williams has enough athleticism to play multiple spots for a 3-4 team at the next level.”
  • Bleacher Report: “One of the biggest and strongest interior linemen in this year’s draft, Jesse Williamshas been an anchor for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide defense for the last two years. There is extensive film of him playing both nose tackle and defensive end in Alabama’s 3-4, and he has experience with one and two gap techniques. He isn’t the athlete or pass rusher Marcel Dareus was coming out, but he is much quicker, lighter on his feet, and more explosive than Terrance Cody, who is currently with the Ravens.”

Video:

 

Video Analysis:

  • Reminds me of a tree stump. Looks ordinary enough, but you can’t move the damn thing.
  • I didn’t see any plays on this clip where Williams gets blown off the ball.
  • Effort, motor, hustle, intestinal fortitude, whatever you want to call it, Williams has it. He’s not going to give up on plays.
  • Also like a tree stump, Williams isn’t very quick. You’re not going to see many plays where he splits a double team and brings down a running back by himself for a loss. Strenth is the name of Williams’ game.
  • I can’t see him being a factor in the pass rush at all. You could probably call Williams Ryan Pickett, Jr.
9

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

NFL Draft Prospect Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB Alabama

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB Alabama

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

Player information:

  • Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
  • 6-foot-2, 279 lbs.
  • Upshaw surprisingly weighed in at 279 lbs at the Alabama Pro Day, 6lbs heavier than he weighed at the NFL combine. He says he feels “250″ thanks to workouts he’s been doing, but wanted to come in under 270. Reportedly ran a 4.77 40 yard dash.

NFL Combine:

  • N/A 40-yard dash
  • N/A 20-yard shuttle
  • N/A 3-cone drill
  • N/A broad jump
  • N/A vertical jump
  • 22 bench press reps
  • 32″ arm length
  • 9″ hands

News & Notes:

A two-year starter for the Crimson Tide, Upshaw notched 17 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss in those two seasons.  He played both defensive end and linebacker, with primary responsibility to get after the quarterback. Upshaw consistently was at his best in big games – doesn’t shy away from the pressure.

What they’re saying about him:

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): “Alabama coach Nick Saban predicts Upshaw can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or “put his hand in the dirt and play defensive end” in the NFL. Based on his play in college, regardless of where Upshaw lines up, he will probably wind up in a quarterback’s mug. Used as an edge rusher, sometimes as the Tide’s so-called “Jack” linebacker and sometimes as an end, Upshaw thrashes blockers with great hand and arm action and shows ample speed and agility to find his way into the offensive backfield. He has instincts beyond that of a pure pass-rusher, with an uncommon awareness for draws, screens, counters and reverses. Although he was not asked to drop into coverage often at Alabama, he has a fluid athleticism that may allow him to adapt to such a demand.”

National Football Post (Wes Bunting):  ”I like him as a 34 outside backer who can play on the strong side, take on linemen at the point and also rush the passer. He’s at his best attacking downhill, using his strong hands to disengage and always is around the football. Looks like a year one starter to me at the next level with scheme versatility.”

NFL Combine: “…due to his size, strength, and play against the run, Upshaw has late first-round talent. Look for him to pair with a pass-rush specialist opposite of him at outside backer in a 3-4 scheme where he can set the edge, work against tight ends and be a heavy run defender.”

18

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Alabama safety Mark Barron

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: S Mark Barron, Alabama

Player information:

  • Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  • 6-foot-1, 213 lbs
  • Underwent double hernia surgery but still projects as the draft’s top safety

NFL Combine: (injured, did not participate):

News & Notes:

Barron stepped onto campus his freshman year and tallied 11 special teams tackles, the third most on the Alabama roster. From there, Barron took over the starting safety position and proceeded to rattle off three-straight first-team All-SEC selections. Arguably his most productive season came in 2009, when Barron intercepted seven passes as a sophomore. Two years later, Barron is the unquestioned No. 1 senior safety in the 2012 draft class. Most project him in the top-30 picks.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): Has the makings of a heck of a special teams player who can also attack downhill vs. the run game, play inside the box and drive on the football in front of him in the pass game. Isn’t going to be a major threat turning and tracking the football, but his improved instincts makes me think he can start in the league early on.

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): If his feet were as quick as his instincts he would be a great free safety, but Barron is built like and plays like an outstanding strong safety. He has exceptional read-and-react skills, gets a quick jump on passes and has great hand-eye coordination going for the ball. All this somewhat compensates for his lack of great speed. On run support, Barron plays with a good balance of patience and aggression that keeps or puts him in the middle of plays that others might overrun. While he does make the occasional big hit, Barron is more of a text book tackler.

NFL.com (Combine): Barron is an imposing defender on the back end for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. He screams “professional defensive back” from preparation, to warm-ups, to in-game productivity and presence. A stalwart at the position, he has the size and athletic ability to contribute right away in the NFL. He is a safety with great range and ball skills to make big plays, and also is a contributor in run support to use his size and instincts to be an active defender. Barron’s combination of size, speed, production and football instincts project him to be a top-50 pick.