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Successors for Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams in the 2018 NFL Draft

Kyle Williams may move on this offseason, these prospects may be tasked with fillings his enormous shoes

Throughout his 12 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Kyle Williams has been the team’s rock at the defensive tackle spot. Since 2006, he’s been the team’s most disruptive defensive lineman. But at 34 years of age, time is catching up with the veteran. If he decides to hang it up this offseason, the Bills will be left in a bit of a lurch. They have virtually no other starting caliber defensive tackles on their roster. They will likely need to look to the draft to fill at least one of the holes, if not both, at the position.

Below are some of the players the team will look to fill Kyle Williams shoes. This is a largely average draft to find a starting defensive tackle, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some gems found in Tiers II and III.

Tier I

Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Vita Vea, Washington

Maurice Hurst is a relatively pint-sized ball of excitable energy. His quickness off the snap, his hand usage and his motor are all at an elite level. He may be undersized at 282 pounds, but his core strength makes up for any size deficiency. Payne continues the Alabama tradition of producing talented defensive linemen. His power against the run when blocked by double-teams is noticeable. Not the twitchiest athlete, Payne pressures the quarterback thanks to his advanced technique and a variety of pass rushing moves. Pound-for-pound, Vea is one of the most athletic players in this draft, not just defensive tackles. However, his production this year was lacking this year and he needs to allay concerns that he is just a big, athletic run stuffer.

Tier II

Harrison Phillips, Stanford
Taven Bryan, Florida
Derrick Nnadi, Florida State
Tim Settle, Virginia Tech

Harrison Phillips game is built around strength and controlling his opponent with his hands. Despite having 7.5 sacks his senior year, he could struggle to make an impact in the passing game against NFL caliber guards. Bryan, Nnadi and Settle are all raw prospects that sport significantly high ceilings. Bryan’s burst off the snap is Kyle Williams-like, he just needs to develop a counter move. Nnadi is theoretically solid in all areas, but runs hot and cold. Tim Settle’s massive frame and surprising agility will allow him to dominate the combine, but he needs to do a better job translating his talent to the field.

Tier III

RJ McIntosh, Miami
Rasheem Green, USC
Trenton Thompson, Georgia
BJ Hill, NC State
Justin Jones, NC State
Folorunso Fatukasi, UConn
Deadrin Senat, USF

The first three Tier III prospects (McIntosh, Green and Thompson) get by using their speed, but when teams run decide to run right at them, they struggle. At 6’4, 315 pounds, BJ Hill doesn’t have that problem, but he and former teammate Justin Jones don’t really stand out against the pass or the run. Fatukasi and Senat had dominating performances at East-West Shrine Game practices and could profile as decent developmental prospects at the position. A good performance at the combine could seem them rise up draft boards.