Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2009 Round 4 #120 – Dallas Cowboys – DE Brandon Williams

The Cowboys traded down three spots to pick up Tampa’s 7th rounder (’cause we don’t have enough picks already…) and then take another lineman and in-state player, Texas Tech’s Brandon Williams.   This might be a rare case where the Cowboys got good value in the draft! says:


Big 12 opponents fully appreciated the impact Williams had on the Red Raiders’ in 2008, even if others paid more attention to the high-flying offense. After all, Williams led the conference with 13 sacks, earning first-team All-Big 12 accolades as a junior, and leaves Tech ranked fourth in school history with 22.5 career sacks. Williams is strictly a speed rusher, as he lacks the bulk and strength to provide much in the running game. Teams are always looking for pass rushers and this fact could make Williams a top-100 selection come April, but another year at Texas Tech to get stronger would have been beneficial.

High School

South Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas … No. 69 overall prospect in Dallas area (Dallas Morning News) … District 8-4A first team after posting 102 tackles and 11 sacks during senior season … Rated as one of the state’s top 20 defensive linemen … Timed at 4.8 second in the 40-yard dash … Also offered by Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa State, Central Florida and SMU … High school coach was Jerry Watson.


Positives: Lanky, athletic frame with room for at least an additional 15-20 pounds of added mass. … Good initial quickness off the snap. … Can pressure the edge immediately with his burst and has the balance and flexibility to get under the tackle and close. … Has a late short burst to close. … Good straight-line speed.

Negatives: Essentially a one-trick pony at this time because he lacks the bulk and strength required to be dependable against the run in the NFL from the traditional defensive end position. … Lacks the balance and flexible hips to change direction fluidly and project as a linebacker. … Relies on his long arms and speed to trip up ballcarriers too often. … Is not a strong tackler and opponents break his arm tackles.

Scouts, Inc says:

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 2006: Williams appears in 11 games as a true freshman and records 16 tackles including 3.5 sacks. He breaks up one pass. 2007: Williams starts 11 of the 12 games he appears in recording 41 tackles including 11.5 tackles-for-loss. He forces three fumbles and recovers one fumble. 2008: Williams starts all 12 games and records 21 tackles including 12.5 tackles-for-loss and 11 sacks. He forces three fumbles and breaks up three passes.
Height-Weight-Speed 4 Adequate-to-good height but needs to bulk up to play defensive end or move to rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Combine 40 time was poor but he plays faster than that result indicates.
Durability 2 Durability is not an issue to our knowledge but lack of size puts him somewhat at risk.
Character 3 No off-the-field issues to our knowledge.
Defensive End specific Traits
Agility/Quickness 2 Better agility than Combine numbers reflect. Reads movement and explodes off the ball. Shows above-average closing speed in pursuit. But he does show some tightness in the hips, he struggles to change directions in space and he will likely have a difficult time matching up in coverage if moved to outside linebacker.
Strength/Toughness 4 Plays from the snap until the whistle and fights to get off blocks. Lacks ideal lower body strength and gets driven back at times. Undersized and can get engulfed by bigger offensive linemen.
Instincts 2 Finds the ball quickly and rarely caught out of position. Shows above-average awareness and does a nice job of sniffing out draws as well as screens.
Pass Rusher 2 Quick enough to turn the corner and shows above-average closing speed when gets a clear run at the quarterback. Can set offensive tackles up to the outside and then swim or spin back inside. Ball-hawk that looks to knock the ball loose when gets to the quarterback.
Run Stopper 4 At his best when on the move. Shows quick hands and long arms, which if used properly can help him keep blockers off his body. Possesses the lateral mobility necessary to get down the line and fill cutback lanes. However, he possesses marginal strength and really struggles to hold his ground when teams run at him. He typically takes far too long to shed the block.

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