2013 NFL Draft: Sylvester Williams Prospect Profile


Sep 29, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive tackle Sylvester Williams (92) celebrates after making a sack against the Idaho Vandals in the first half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

Sylvester Williams is a huge, thick bodied nose tackle, much in the mold of a Vince Wilfork of the Patriots, or Pat Williams, formerly of the Vikings. He is a powerful defensive tackle, who dominates the middle of the line of scrimmage and can take on more than one blocker at a time. The big question surrounding Williams is his consistency, as he will often make big plays and then disappear for long stretches of the game.


6’3” Height

33 ½” Arms

313 lbs. Weight

10 ¾” Hands


Although Williams is a huge, wide body nose tackle, he has surprising quickness off of the snap, and a very quick first step. He will vary his bursts off the snap, making his opponents relax, and at that point he will make an explosive tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He has a great swim move, and has the strength to disengage of blockers and drag down ball carriers as they attempt to run past him. When rushing quarterbacks, he will sometimes spin off blockers and threaten hesitant quarterbacks to hand the ball off, and at which point he will destroy the running back. Even when his initial pass rush fails, Williams will give a second effort and continue to chase players down, which is something that most of the players in his draft class do not do. He also is very good at the bull rushing, and he will often just plow through blockers and get straight to the quarterback.  He will keep his eyes in the backfield and locate the ball well, and attack until the blow of the whistle. He has versatility as he played nose and three-technique defensive tackle, and even played out wide. He has good pad level and uses his leverage to split up double teams.


Williams’s big question mark is if he can be consistent enough in the NFL to be an every down impact nose tackle. Often times at North Carolina he would take plays off so that he could get rested up again, and would give up some big chunks in the run game. When he gets tired, he tends to lose the ability to get to the ball, and to disengage off of blockers. He can rely on the swim move too much at times, and some offensive linemen are able to figure him out and use proper technique to block him. His athleticism is a bit of a question, as he will sometimes run too far up field and miss sacks and tackle because he cannot stop his momentum. He can get low and create a pile on the goal line, but he gets pushed back when he plays high in other short yardage situations.


William’s best fit in the NFL is to be a penetrating nose tackle, though he could play in either a 3-4 or 4-3. He is likely to be selected in the mid to late first round this upcoming April.

Grade: 8.2