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Jonah Williams film analysis: Versatile lineman strong contender for Bills’ top pick

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Williams is a pro-ready prospect whose talent Buffalo may covet in the draft.

The Buffalo Bills may have signed a slew of offensive linemen in free agency, but there’s no reason the team needs to ignore the unit when the NFL draft comes around. Dion Dawkins, Ty Nsekhe, and LaAdrian Waddle are only under contract for up to two more seasons, and if the team sees an opportunity for a long-term starting offensive tackle, they might pull the trigger. Can Jonah Williams, left tackle from Alabama, be that player? Let’s dive into the film and find out.

Williams has all the requisite agility for an NFL offensive tackle. You can find several plays where he successfully blocks a linebacker at the second level to extend a running play. Here’s just one example:

Williams plays with exceptional pass protection technique, from the ground up. It starts with his footwork, featuring a clean and balanced kick slide. He sinks his hips, dropping anchor with excellent balance over his base. His hand fighting is very refined; he keeps his elbows tight and snaps his hands up to an opponent’s chest. He does a great job reading pass-rushing moves and reacting to them, and keeps his head on a swivel to catch late-breaking blitzers.

In the below clip, we’ll see Williams locking up fellow future first-round selection Montez Sweat. Sweat’s a much better athlete with longer arms, but that didn’t matter on this play. Williams still got his hands into Sweat’s chest.

In the next clip, we’ll have a nice viewing angle of Williams as he sets his anchor. The pass rusher tries a bull rush, but Williams is only knocked back one step before he can negate the power and sustain the pocket.

Williams was a top high-school recruit, a freshman All-American, and a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide. His awareness, as you might guess, is top-notch. He’ll pick up on stunts and corner blitzes and do his part to keep the passer clean.

It’s been noted that Williams has short arms and height for the ideal offensive tackle (under 34” and 6’5” respectively) and that could affect his pro upside. It didn’t manifest often on tape, but occasionally a pass rusher was able to reach his chest and win the rep. Williams has good but not great grip strength, and defenders who utilize a swipe or hump technique will have a chance to shed his block and escape free.

Aside from that one factor, the only negative I could find with his tape is that Williams isn’t an overpowering athlete. He doesn’t punch with enough power to knock down a defender. He finishes blocks, but doesn’t maul players into the dirt on a regular basis. He’s not pulling into space to block for a bubble screen. That might limit his upside, for some people, but I have no problem slapping a first-round grade onto a refined technician who can play both left and right tackle. Considering his versatility, connections with Brian Daboll, and work ethic, Williams has to be a strong contender for Buffalo’s first pick of the draft.