You don't need to be reminded that Buffalo Bills nose tackle Kyle Williams is awesome. But it's nice to talk about good Bills football players, and as Williams is in the news again - this time, courtesy Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc. - we felt it was just about time to talk about Buffalo's best football player again.
Williamson, who routinely (and justifiably) bashes the Bills, called Williams "the NFL's most underrated defensive player" in today's column for ESPN's AFC East blog.
The analysis is nothing we haven't heard before. Williamson praises Williams' versatility - saying that he's capable of playing several different techniques at an elite level - as well as his production despite a rather horrific supporting cast. What's more intriguing, however, is the ways that Williamson suggests the team could get better around Williams.
First, it's important to understand that Williamson believes that Williams shouldn't have a set position:
So, in reality, he is just a very good football player who demonstrates exceptional leverage, power, quickness and tenacity that would help any defense a great deal. But no matter what scheme is used as the base, I would move Williams around quite a bit. The Baltimore Ravens do the same with Haloti Ngata to find the best matchups for their best player.
From there, Williamson has suggestions for improving the run defense, which starts with getting a big-bodied run stuffer to complement Williams' versatility:
I think adding a true nose tackle type (think the New England Patriots' Vince Wilfork) would be most beneficial for Williams and the Bills’ run defense as a whole. Buffalo’s run defense is among the worst in the league. But the Bills did draft Torell Troup with the thought of him developing into that wide-bodied nose tackle to eat up blockers. But Troup was less-than-impressive as a rookie.
This is the most logical step for the Bills to take, as they can use a wide-bodied run defender alongside Kyle in either front. Troup was drafted to be that zero-tech nose guard in the odd front, but Williamson isn't wrong when he said that Troup struggled as a rookie. Nix and Gailey remain high on Troup, and he was one of the youngest players on the team last year, but at some point, they'll need to have a consistent producer in that role next to Williams. A space-eater not only frees up Williams a bit, but also reduces the number of gaps, and number of blockers, that the team's much-maligned group of inside linebackers needs to deal with.
If Troupe (sic) greatly improves, which could be far-fetched thinking, the thing that would help Williams and everyone else mentioned above the most would be a lethal edge pass-rusher. That player could be either in the form of a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. In a passing league, that cannot be overlooked. Williams can only do so much by himself.
Buffalo's pass rush has been awful for years, and it would be insane for the team to rely on Shawne Merriman, Chris Kelsay and Arthur Moats to generate a pass rush next year. There are three excellent pass-rushing prospects - Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Texas A&M's Von Miller - that should sorely tempt the Bills with their top pick. Bowers is more of the 4-3 end type, Miller is more of the 3-4 outside 'backer type, and the controversial Quinn could probably play either role.
One thing has become certain, even long before Williamson added perhaps the most legitimate voice to the heaps of praise Williams is currently wading through - Kyle Williams is a player that this team can build around.