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Quinnen Williams is an ideal fit for Buffalo Bills’ defensive scheme

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A talented player and an outstanding match for Sean McDermott.

Quinnen Williams might be the best prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, but due to positional needs he’s no lock for the top pick. There’s a chance he could slide down the draft to the point where the Buffalo Bills might entertain the thought of trading up for him. How would he fit the team, if they did land him? Let’s walk through what Williams could bring to Buffalo.

Team Fit

During his last two years with the Carolina Panthers, McDermott paired Star Lotulelei, the massive defensive tackle now on Buffalo’s roster, with the speedier Kawann Short. Short, a second-round pick, exploded onto the scene and has two Pro Bowls under his belt thanks to big sack numbers and a penetrating style of play.

Coming into the 2013 NFL Draft, Short measured 6’3”, 299 pounds with 34 34 -inch arms. With a short shuttle time of 4.65 seconds and a three-cone drill of 7.55 seconds.

The Bills also drafted the 6’3” 307 pound Harrison Phillips, with 33 7/8” arms, a 4.5 short shuttle, and a 32” vertical leap.

At 6’3” and 303 pounds, with 33 1/4” arms, Williams is squarely in Buffalo’s wheelhouse. He’s a great athlete, too, with a 4.83 forty-yard dash, 30.5” vertical, and 112” broad jump.

Williams played multiple alignments during his career at Alabama, and could definitely hold down a three-technique role for the Bills. He’s also known as a team player, who voluntarily redshirted and took on less glamorous nose tackle roles to open up opportunities for his teammates.

Player comparison

Fletcher Cox measured 6’4” 298 pounds against Quinnen’s 6’3” 303. Like Williams, Cox is a great athlete, and he developed impressive handfighting technique as a pro defensive tackle. Kawann Short might be an even better comparison. While he didn’t have a Combine workout, he measured 6’3” 299 with longer arms but similar hand size. Short’s selling point in college was his excellent pass rushing technique, his strength, burst, and versatility, and his scouting report honestly reads very similarly to Williams’s. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott were sold on this player.

Sample Play: Base Strong Fire Zone

This defensive playcall comes straight from Nick Saban’s playbook. If the Bills went with this exact look, they’d be switching up their personnel package slightly. Jordan Phillips and Harrison Phillips would both play as defensive ends, with Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander playing bookend outside linebacker roles. Middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds would be the blitzer in this scenario. Williams, playing nose tackle, would be pressuring from the A gap.

Williams is able to disrupt plays even when lining up in a conservative zero-technique alignment. Even facing two blockers, it’s likely he’d knife between them and pressure the QB’s blind side. Edmunds should have a free gap with the left defensive end occupying the right guard. That allows Phillips and SLB Alexander to play contain and clean up any missed sacks.


Williams is that rare, versatile talent on the defense who only shows up once every year or two. He’d fit pretty much every defense with Pro Bowl potential, and would be the perfect match for Buffalo’s missing interior pressure. If he somehow fell down the draft, the Bills drafting him would be a coup.