Do the Bengals Have Another Undrafted Free Agent Gem?

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This picture is indicative of how unknown DeShawn Williams was during this year’s draft process. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

DT DeShawn Williams, Clemson

The picture selection here indicates just how quiet the buzz was around Clemson defensive tackle DeShawn Williams throughout the draft process despite some impressive performances.

When playing within the Clemson defense, Williams’ role was much like that of many nose tackles.  Williams’ goal was to eat up blockers and stop the run.  By doing so, Clemson stars such as Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley were provided auspicious circumstances when rushing the passer.  Linebacker Stephone Anthony was ideally kept free of blockers, which enabled him to roam and make plays on the ball.  Obviously given how dominant the Clemson defense was this past year, Williams clearly played a vital role and did so effectively.

Leading up to the draft, Williams had a fantastic Pro Day.  Williams Pro Day numbers were as follows: 4.96s 40-yard dash, 28 bench press reps, a 30″ vertical and a 105″ broad jump. Williams’ combination of size and athleticism drew the attention of Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick.

As can be seen from his tape, Williams plays with good leverage showing an ability to withstand double teams.  Although Williams is slightly on the smaller side for defensive tackles (6’1″, 295 pounds), his lack of height can be an advantage towards gaining leverage against taller offensive linemen.

Williams also possesses good awareness.  He recognizes screens well and does well against the run while forcing offensive linemen into the backfield.

Williams has a mound of competition ahead of him in Cincinnati.  Yet, if Williams commits himself and takes the next year (likely on the practice squad) to learn and refine his technique, and maybe even put on some additional weight if possible, he could carve himself out a role in the coming year when the defensive tackle situation opens up a bit more.  Williams has a strong understanding of playing a complementary role within a talented defensive line.  This is something he’ll continue find while playing in Cincinnati.  Williams seems to be a team-first player and given the adequate time to develop could turn into a solid rotational player in the future.

Next: Is Reggie Nelson's Cincinnati Tenure Over in 2016?

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