The Ravens said they wanted to build the middle of their defense through the draft and that’s just what they continued to do Friday.
Baltimore selected defensive tackle Brandon Williams from Missouri Southern State in the third round with pick No. 94 overall.
Combined with first-round selection safety Matt Elam and inside linebacker Arthur Brown, the Ravens have remade the middle of their defense. They have yet to make an offensive draft pick.
“When we talked, John [Harbaugh], Steve [Bisciotti] and I, after the Super Bowl, we talked about getting stronger up the middle,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “Over the past two days, the picks have definitely addressed the middle of our defense.”
Williams is another small-school player for the Ravens, who have hit with such prospects in the past, including cornerback
“I always knew I could play at that talent level," Williams said. "I just had to prove to the NFL that I could do it. I always believed in myself. It just gave me an opportunity to show my talent and show that I belong in the NFL.”
The 6-foot-1, 335-pound Williams was a rare three-time All-American as one of the top players in Division II, III, or NAIA. Last year, he was named the MIAA defensive player of the year with 68 tackles (16.5 for loss), 8.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles.
His short stature gives him natural leverage on the defensive line. He’s a block-eater, yet has the ability to also penetrate to get tackles for loss and create pressure on quarterbacks.
Williams put up 38 reps on the bench press. DeCosta said after watching the tape, they knew he was going to do well on the bench press.
“He’s a big man, a naturally big man,” DeCosta said. “It’s tough to find these body types to play in a 3-4 defense and we think he’s a great fit for us.”
Harbaugh was impressed by a YouTube video of Williams walking on his hands.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Harbaugh said. “For a big man, he’s really an athletic guy.”
Williams, like Brown, is another red-star prospect, showing the intangibles the team values. He went to a Division II school because he did not have a high enough GPA. He had a summer job starting at 7 a.m. cleaning port-a-potties.
The Ravens could use help along the defensive line to add competition with nose tackle
“We’ll have a nice little rotation at defensive tackle,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We have really bolstered our front seven, big-time. … It’s going to be a very formidable group upfront.”