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2019 NFL Draft: Jonah Williams scheme fit with Buffalo Bills could go either way

What matters more for Buffalo’s draft room: Measurements or technique?

Jonah Williams is one of the top offensive linemen available in the 2019 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t necessarily place him atop the Buffalo Bills’ draft board. Like every player the team evaluates, Williams will be weighed against the team’s preferred prototypes for his position, along with his fit with the scheme the Bills like to run. Could Williams fit with the team, and how might he be used? Let’s take a look.

Team fit

When Sean McDermott first started coaching the Bills and he brought along Rick Dennison’s zone-blocking scheme, the team drafted 6’4”, 315-pound Dion Dawkins as a future left tackle. His long arms helped him handle defenders around the edge, but he was still a player most analysts pegged as an offensive guard.

Dennison’s gone, Juan Castillo is gone, and now we have a sample size of a half-dozen linemen to suggest to us the prototype Buffalo wants for Brian Daboll and Bobby Johnson’s offense. This doesn’t factor in any players already on the roster, for whom management didn’t have any pressing contract deadlines.

  • OT Ty Nsekhe: 6’8” 330 pounds (long arms, but true measurements unknown)
  • OT LaAdrian Waddle: 6’6” 315 pounds (arm length unknown)
  • OC Mitch Morse: 6’6” 305 pounds, 32.25” arms
  • OG/OC Spencer Long: 6’5” 320 pounds, 33.125” arms
  • OG Jon Feliciano: 6’4” 323 pounds, 32.375” arms
  • OG/OT Jeremiah Sirles: 6’6” 315 pounds (arm length unknown)

At 6’4” and 302 pounds, Williams looks like a poor physical match for Buffalo’s roster. He lacks the length they’ve been consolidating on the outside, and the bulk of their guards. His height-weight-arm measurements would fit at center, but the team just signed Mitch Morse to lock down that position for the future.

In terms of scheme, and what the Bills would want for their offense, however, Williams would be able to handle anything the team throws at him. He was already a first-team All-SEC lineman and national champion when he played for Daboll in the 2017 Crimson Tide season. Williams has enough speed to hold his own on the edge, and enough strength to widen running lanes. He knows the playbook.

Sample play: Counter trey

The counter trey, one play that could take advantage of Williams’s coordination

Jonah Williams’s best traits are his refined technique and his awareness of the situation around him. A play to take advantage would be this one, the counter trey. Playing left tackle here, Williams would be required to block down on a defensive end as the runner stepped toward the strong side of the formation. A tight end and right guard would then be pulling around the edge, as the running back changes direction and heads behind them to the weak side. Williams needs to turn his defensive end toward the inside so he doesn’t spill into the rushing lane, and open room for his teammates who want to pick up the incoming linebacker, nickel back, and free safety. He might need to combo with a teammate to get the DE out of the way. Depending on his role with the team, Williams might be the right tackle in this scenario, or even the pulling guard. He would be able to handle any of those responsibilities.