Mock Draft Spotlight: DT Dan Williams

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*NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks has Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams going to the Ravens at No. 25. Here's a little more information about Williams just in case he's right.
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Before Dan Williams' senior year in Tennessee, new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin watched his game film and characterized the defensive tackle as an "undrafted free agent."

That's a tough pill to swallow considering Kiffin, the longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator, is regarded as one of the top defensive minds in football.

Well, one year later, Williams stands as a bona fide first-round prospect and perhaps the draft's fastest riser from a year ago. Now the question is whether Williams had the potential all along or whether he's a one-year wonder.

It seems most draft analysts are convinced he's the previous. NFLDraftScout.com projects Williams as the top defensive tackle in the draft behind Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy. Most mock drafts have Williams going in the top half of the draft.

But if he were to slip to No. 25, as NFL.com's Bucky Brooks predicts, the 6-foot-2, 327 nose tackle could be gobbled up by the Ravens, who lost two defensive linemen to free agency and wouldn't mind pairing a young run-stuffing lineman next to Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata.

Williams' 2009 breakout has largely been attributed to Kiffin and his son, Lane, who was the head coach at Tennessee last year.

The biggest knock on Williams was an inconsistent effort. Under the Kiffins he became steadier and was able to keep his weight in check, playing at around 325 pounds instead of above 350. Speaking at the Combine, Williams feels he still has room to grow his game.

"When you look at my film you can see me improving every year," Williams said. "I really learned how to be a pro."

Williams led all SEC defensive linemen in tackles with 61 during his senior year. He also logged two sacks and was an integral figure in absorbing blocks to allow the Volunteers' linebackers. Williams played mostly in a 4-3 in college but could also be projected as a nose tackle.

Williams does it despite (or because of) a shorter frame than many elite defensive lineman. But that allows him to get good leverage on blockers, which when added to his phenomenal strength, gave him a strong bull-rush to pressure quarterbacks and disrupt runners.

He has good burst off the snap and a nice swim move. Williams is also adept at locating the football, which allows him to move laterally and down the field to make tackles.

So what did his coaches think of Williams when he left Tennessee? They certainly had a different tune.

"Our defense starts with Dan," Lane Kiffin said. "He's a dominant force and making himself a lot of money."

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