Jonah Williams Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Plays with good leverage
Bends at the knee; avoids waist bending
Keeps his feet moving
Reliable pass blocker
Can torque defenders in the ground game
Beats defenders to spots to open holes
Ties up defenders to keep them from getting to ball-carriers
Known as a good-character individual
Great knowledge of technique
Lots of experience against top competition
Position flexibility; could play tackle, guard or center
Not overly strong
Not fast or very quick
Not a great athlete
Arm length - 33.63 inches
Can struggle with elite speed off the edge
Can get overpowered
Summary: 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.
There are a lot of strengths to Williams as a player, but in speaking with team sources, the attributes mentioned the most are intelligence and technique. Team evaluators think that Williams is a very smart blocker, and he uses that to his advantage on how he attacks defenders to keep them away from his quarterback or ball-carrier. Williams has very good technique. His hand placement, knee bend, and leverage are all very good.
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.
Williams does not have elite quickness, strength, athleticism, or size. Hence, he is not a high first-round talent. With his arms being shorter and him not having special quickness or athletic ability, Williams would be better off playing guard or right tackle in the NFL in this analyst's opinion. Center could be a good option for Williams as well, and it would not surprise me if center is his best position for the pros, as his intelligence will be a great asset in the middle of the line.
Some team sources say they have graded Williams as a late first-round pick, while others have graded him in the second round. He is a smart blocker who is steady and reliable. Some sources say they are projecting Williams to right tackle or guard, and think he would only be an emergency left tackle who could finish out a game because he's smart, but teams wouldn't want him to start at left tackle in the NFL. Others think he could stay at left tackle, and some think he should be a center. The Alabama staff told scouts this year they wanted to play Williams at center as a senior but the other players on their roster forced them to play Williams at left tackle.
Teams love Williams character, intelligence, football I.Q., and superb knowledge of technique. He drew rave reviews from his combine interviews.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams will probably get selected as high as the middle of the first round and is likely go as a top-25 pick.
Player Comparison: Bryan Bulaga. Bulaga (6-5, 314) and Williams have similar skill sets. Bulaga is heavier with more strength, but Williams could approach those same levels after some time developing in the NFL. Bulaga has been a better fit at right tackle in the NFL, and Williams could follow that trend. Bulaga was the 23rd overall-pick in 2010, and Williams could go in the same range. During his NFL career, I could see Williams being a pro comparable to Bulaga.
NFL Matches: Cincinnati, Green Bay, Miami, Carolina, Philadelphia, Houston, Minnesota
There could be a lot of teams in the market for Williams because there are a lot of bad offensive lines in the NFL that need to add more talent at offensive tackle. Most of the teams that took quarterbacks in the first round last year could use a young left tackle to protect their quarterbacks.
Perhaps the highest that Williams could hope to go would be just outside the top 10. The Bengals need offensive line help, and he could be right tackle or guard for Cincinnati.
One pick later, Williams could be a fit for the Packers as they have to improve their offensive line. He could be a starter at guard for Green Bay.
Miami could consider taking Williams after losing Ja'Wuan James in free agency.
In the NFC South, Carolina needs help at tackle to replace Matt Kalil and on the inside as the team could use a guard to go with Trai Turner. Thus, Williams could be in play for the Panthers.
Minnesota must get more talent to protect Kirk Cousins, so Williams could be of interest to the Vikings. I've heard from sources that Minnesota likes Williams, and he would make a lot of sense with his versatility.
Among the playoff teams, there are a few franchises that could be good fits for Williams. Jason Peters is nearing the end of his great career, and Philadelphia could take Williams to pair with Lane Johnson.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has failed to develop a single quality offensive lineman for Houston during his 5-year run. General manager Brian Gaine struck out in free agency to upgrade the team's terrible offensive line. The Texans badly need to improve their protection for Deshaun Watson and are going to have to draft some offensive linemen early. Both Philadelphia and Houston have extra picks in the second round to help move up if desired.
There also could be some teams picking high in the second round that move up for Williams because there is not a lot of depth of talent for the offensive line class overall and especially at tackle. The Cardinals have a terrible offensive line, and they have to improve their blocking for Josh Rosen. If Arizona were to move up from its second-round pick, Williams could be in play. Ditto for the Bills if they move up from Round 2. Williams could improve the protection for either team's young quarterback.