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2019 NFL Draft Profiles: Jonah Williams, offensive line, Alabama

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is draft day! The Miami Dolphins - and the rest of the league - are just hours away from kicking off the 2019 NFL Draft. We continue to look at some of the players the Dolphins could select today - or throughout the three-day selection process - in our series of draft profiles.

No one is really sure what the Dolphins will do this year, though it feels like the team’s main focus is on the line of scrimmage. We add another potential offensive lineman to the growing list of profiles with a look at Alabama’s Jonah Williams.

Jonah Williams bio

Age: 21 (November 17, 1997)
Born: Atlanta, GA
High School: Folsom High School, Folsom, CA
College: Alabama

Williams was named second-team All-SEC and a Freshman All-American as a true freshman at Alabama, playing in 15 games as the team’s starting right tackle. He switched to left tackle for his sophomore season in 2017, earning second-team and third-team All-American honors from different voting bodies. Continued playing left tackle as a junior last season, and was a consensus first-team All-American while not allowing a sack all season. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy (nation’s best interior lineman) and the Lombardi Award (best college football player based on play, leadership, character, and resilience) in 2018. Started all 44 games of his college career.

Jonah Williams measurables

Height: 6’4”
Weight: 302 lbs.
Arms: 33-5/8”
Hands: 10-1/8”
40-yard dash: 5.12
Bench press: 23
Vertical jump: 28.0
Broad jump: 100.0
3-cone drill: 8.01
20-yard shuttle: 4.79

What they are saying

Stephen White, SB Nation - Long arms are not some kind of panacea for offensive linemen, nor are “short” arms, in and of themselves, some kind of fatal flaw. It’s actually hard for me to believe that people are still stuck on this “perfect” measurement bullshit in 2019. Maybe it’s because I’m still bitter about being labeled “undersized” back when I came out, but more likely it’s because my experience has taught me that good players come in all shapes and sizes. It just befuddles me that some still haven’t figured that out. hat I do know is based on the things I saw on his tape, in conjunction with what I value in an offensive lineman, there is no question in my mind that he is an outstanding left tackle prospect. You want to talk about a good pass set? Williams routinely exhibited training tape technique on film. No matter where the guys he was assigned to block were lined up, Williams was going to give them that same kick step and backpedal, time after time after time. Williams’ feet were superb out in space, and he hardly ever looked to be off balance. He never panicked in his pass set, and he always kept his weight back as he patiently waited for each pass rusher to commit to a move. That allowed him to do a good job of staying in front of them initially. It also put him in good position to recover when the pass rusher attempted a counter move. Of course Williams wasn’t perfect, and he did get beat a few times while he was pass blocking. What I noticed, though, was that of the handful of times when Williams let someone get past him, it was usually a situation where he started off in good shape at the beginning of the play, then eventually the defender found a way to get past him right at the end after the quarterback had held on to the ball for awhile. Just based on his pass blocking alone, I would rate Williams as a first-round left tackle prospect, but it turns out the guy is actually a helluva run blocker as well. I particularly enjoyed watching his work on combo blocks where he participated in a double-team at the line of scrimmage, then continued on up to the second level to block a linebacker or safety. Or should I say to obliterate a linebacker or safety. Having said that, I do believe that Williams could play well inside if a team decided to move him there. I already talked about how good he is at pulling and at making blocks on the second level, so it shouldn’t be too shocking that I believe he could excel as a guard. I believe that the potential to move him inside is more of a reason to draft Williams. But first and foremost, I think he can be franchise-type left tackle, and I expect any team that drafts him to start him off there at first.

Lance Zierlein, - Early entrant and three-year starter whose work ethic, attention to detail and desire to get better each day have made him a foundation piece of Alabama’s dominant run. Like his idol, Joe Thomas, Williams uses angles, technique and body control to succeed in all facets of the game. He looked more comfortable in his pass sets at left tackle in his final year and he has the tools necessary to counter bigger, longer edge defenders despite a lack of ideal size and length for the left tackle spot. His cerebral nature and potential versatility should make him a safe pick and successful, long-time starter in the NFL. Comparison: Jake Matthews. Projection: Round 1.

Joe Marino, The Draft Network - Williams’ balanced and smooth footwork, combined with technical refinement and excellent play strength make him an exciting prospect. While he deserves a chance to prove his lack of reach will limit him too much in the NFL, he has tremendous upside as an interior blocker. A three-year starter at Alabama, Williams has been tested against the best pass rushers college football has to offer and should be able to make an early impact in his NFL career and anchor a font five for years to come. Projection: Round 1.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - Jonah Williams began the 2018 season as one of the best left tackles in college football and his play only bolstered that thinking. Concerns about size, arm length and overall athleticism could hurt Williams during the pre-draft process but the bottom line remains unchanged: He’s a starting NFL offensive lineman, either at right tackle, or perhaps even at guard. Some scouts even think he could be a Pro Bowl center. Strengths: Played right tackle as a freshman before moving to left tackle, where he was consistently one of the best players on Alabama’s offense. Regularly shows good footwork, is rarely out of position, but he’ll need to mitigate concerns about his athleticism to play blindside protector in the NFL. His future could be at guard though we like him a lot at tackle. Weaknesses: Williams’ arms are only 33 5/8 inches. That’s under the 34-inch threshold some NFL teams want in their left tackles. Does 3/8th inch make a difference? In reality, no, but there are other concerns about Williams’ athleticism and that he’s just 302 pounds. Comparison: David Bakhtiari.

PFF Analysis Team, Pro Football Focus - Our second-highest graded offensive tackle prospect in the NFL Draft, Jonah Williams is a plug-and-play prospect that has the ideal combination of height, weight, and athleticism to play offensive tackle in the NFL for many years to come. Forget the fact that he has “short arms,” he’s a menace to opposing edge defenders, and he showed that throughout the 2018 season. Jonah Williams sports one of the best run-blocking grades in the draft class, and you would never know it, as everyone always discusses his pass blocking at length. Jonah Williams sports one of the best run-blocking grades in the draft class, and you would never know it, as everyone always discusses his pass blocking at length. Speaking of pass blocking, Williams is one of the best in the class. His 98.7 pass-blocking efficiency mark ranks fourth among top prospects, as does his 88.6 pass-blocking grade. His quick initial step and lateral agility allow him to get his feet set and deny any pass-rush moves or lanes to the quarterback.

Gavino Borquez, USA Today Draft Wire - Williams has all the makings of an NFL offensive lineman, regardless if he plays as a tackle or guard at the next level. His technical and athletic ability make it likely he is one of the top players at his position selected in this year’s draft.Williams is a very smart player that anticipates the game well. He reacts to the defender’s movements quickly and can counter with good feet and powerful hands. As a pass blocker, he’s used to holding his blocks and demoralizing pass rushers. As a run blocker, he gets movement with a quick first step and powerful positioning on contact. He plays with a mean streak and has the work ethic NFL coaches will love. Despite the lack of length for the offensive tackle position, that doesn’t mean he’s automatically going to be kicked inside. Williams is one of the safest picks, as he should be a plug and play player for a team in need of an 8-10 year offensive lineman.

Amir Mamdani, FanDuel - Jonah Williams has a unique blend of strength and agility for his size, which allows him to block the strongest and quickest defensive linemen in the country, like Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell from the Clemson Tigers. Williams is one of the top prospects in the entire draft class and has the potential to be an immediate starter at the NFL level. Williams’ technique is among the best in the country for offensive tackles, and his three years under Nick Saban should prepare him well for the NFL. Williams played 44 games in his college career, and the three-year starter should immediately slot into the starting offensive line of whatever team drafts him. Williams is one of the most polished offensive linemen and overall prospects in the entire draft.

Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball - At just about every position on the field, Alabama has been a factory for NFL talent during the Nick Saban era, and the offensive line is no exception. However, it is rare for a player to break into the starting line up early in their career as Saban has been more inclined to play upperclassmen. Thus, it said a lot for Williams when he broke into the starting lineup at right tackle as a freshman. After a strong debut there, Williams went over to left tackle once Cam Robinson moved on to the NFL. Over the past two seasons, Williams was a reliable pass protector and run blocker for the Crimson Tide. With his steady play, Williams turned himself into an early-round prospect for the NFL. As a pass blocker, Williams is very reliable. He sets up well and plays the typewriter with his feet to keep defenders from getting around the corner. Williams uses his good hand placement and upper body to sustain his blocks while not allowing much give on second efforts. When he does allow a rusher to get upfield, Williams shows a nice ability to recover and tie up his blocker, using any means necessary to keep them from getting to the quarterback. Elite speed or strength can give Williams some problems on the edge, thus many believe he should not be a left tackle in the NFL. In the ground game, Williams is a steady blocker who ties up his defenders. He is not a road-grader who blasts defenders off the ball with overwhelming power. However, he is a smart blocker who beats defenders to the spot and uses his technique to tie them up or torque them away from his ball-carriers. Williams is not a power player, and he would be a good fit in a zone-blocking scheme.

Video breakdowns and film

Should Dolphins be interested?

I have largely thought Williams would end up moving inside to guard, but Stephen White’s write up made me think more about the possibility of him playing out at tackle - and given White’s experience as an NFL defensive end, I put some trust in his ability to know what a tackle should be. If the Dolphins really are looking to bolster the offensive line, Williams could be exactly the player they need. The new coaching staff could be looking to make a decision on where to play Jesse Davis - guard or tackle - so drafting a player who could play whichever one they do not choose for Davis makes a lot of sense. I like Williams and he really does have the clean, pure technique as everyone says. He is not my ideal pick, but you cannot fault Miami if they make him their first pick this year.


How would you grade the Dolphins pick of Jonah Williams?

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  • 48%
    (43 votes)
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    (34 votes)
  • 6%
    (6 votes)
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    (1 vote)
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89 votes total Vote Now