Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #14 – Chicago Bears – Chris Williams

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Chicago Bears are about to make their pick and the ESPN gang are all talking running back, with Reshard Mendenhall the obvious name. They most obviously need a quarterback, but there’s not anything like this value on the board at that position.

Instead, the Bears continue the run on defensive linemen with Chris Williams out of Vandy.

Scouts, Inc.: 10th

Strengths: Possesses a massive frame; is tall with good bulk, adequate arm length (33.5) and big hands (10). Displays very good overall mobility for his size, including quickness in his pass pro set. Does a very good job of using his long arms to ride pass rushers wide while he’s still getting set. Displays great footwork and gets excellent hand placement. While he may not jar defenders at the point of contact, he can lock on and then sustain his blocks. He can engulf bigger defenders once he’s in position and engaged. Displays versatility with experience at guard and tackle. He has been durable throughout his career.

Weaknesses: Still too much of a finesse player. Lacks explosive upper-body power. Does not jar defenders at the point of attack. Lacks the base and lower body power to drive defenders off the line of scrimmage in the run game.

Overall: Williams redshirted in 2003 and was ineligible in 2004, when he changed majors and didn’t qualify to play football under Vanderbilt’s stringent academic standards. In his first active season (2005), he appeared in 11 games and started the final nine at left guard, also taking game reps at left tackle. Williams moved to left tackle for good as a junior, starting all 24 games at the position over his final two seasons (2006-’07). Williams is a left tackle prospect with great feet but a bit too much finesse to his game at this point. He lacks ideal upper-body strength, which was confirmed in only 21 reps on the bench press. He also lacks ideal physicality. However, Williams possesses very good mobility for his big frame and he typically can overcome below-average strength by using excellent technique and positioning. Thanks to a productive senior season, followed by excellent showings at the Senior Bowl and combine; Williams has built tremendous momentum heading into the 2008 draft. He should be one of the top-five offensive linemen selected  likely in the middle of the first round.

Rick Gosselin: 20th

Mel Kiper: 11th

Good value with the pick.

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