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Alabama Defensive Tackle Jesse Williams Could Strengthen Defensive Line


Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome made it clear at the end-of-season press conference that he's looking to add some pieces in the middle of the team's defensive line this offseason.

And Newsome loves those prospects from his alma mater Alabama.

That makes defensive tackle Jesse Williams an interesting option for the Ravens at the end of the first round. The 6-foot-3, 323-pound defensive tackle has already met with the Ravens, and he's been linked to Baltimore in recent mock drafts, including the most recent from ESPN's Todd McShay.

"They have a great defense, they're pretty hard-nosed like the way we played at Alabama," Williams said Saturday at the NFL Combine.

Williams was a vital cog of Alabama's dominant defense, eating up blockers as a run stuffer up the middle.

He's a strong, gritty player that has earned some attention at the NFL combine based on his goal to break the combine bench press record of repping 225 pounds 51 times. He ended up getting just 30 reps, but he told the media during his press conference Saturday that he has maxed out at 600 pounds in the bench.

"I haven't tried more than that," Williams said. "They cut me off. I didn't want to hurt myself. If I trained for it and had the time for it, I could do more than that. I'm not trying to hurt myself."

Williams was born in Australia and grew up playing rugby* *before coming over to the States to play college football.

In addition to his performance on the field, he's developed a reputation as a hard-nosed player thanks to his appearance. He has tattoos going up his neck, face and the side of his head, and would wear white paint on his face for some gamedays.

One of the tattoos on his head says, "Fear is a Liar," which he said reminds him of his upbringing.

"Fear is a liar is just pushing myself and not having fear of failure and doing anything like that and trying to be the best person I can be," Williams said. "All these tattoos are little reminders of what I'm all about being away from my family and being on my own over here. It plays a big role with that."

If Williams were drafted by the Ravens, he'd end up competing with fellow Alabama product Terrence Cody for a starting job. Cody, a fourth-year defensive tackle, lost his starting role to Ma'ake Kemoeatu last season and hasn't yet developed into the run stuffer the Ravens hoped when they drafted him in the second round in 2010.

The Ravens took Alabama defender Courtney Upshaw with their top pick last season, and bringing Williams to Baltimore would keep alive the Crimson Tide pipeline that Newsome loves.

"They have a bunch of Alabama players there already," Williams said. "It would be a great fit I feel to learn from the great players and coaches they have there."

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