The Buffalo Bills selected Tulane linebacker Dorian Williams with the 91st overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Williams is a fascinating selection considering his profile, and the Bills needed another linebacker to factor into the mix.
Williams was a Senior Bowl selection who attended the event before breaking his wrist during the week. He then bounced back at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at 6’1” and 228 pounds. Williams is not yet 22 years old and tested as an elite athlete. He plays as such on the football field.
The knock on Williams will be his processing ability and how well he can eat blocks in the run game, but the coverage upside and range is very much existent. Williams is a sound tackler but lacks pure stopping power for the position. His impact as a run defender isn’t for a lack of effort as he is a feisty competitor, but he lacks the size to consistently hold his ground at the point of attack.
Those crack blocks on LBs always look easier on the whiteboard for WRs— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) September 16, 2021
Tulane LB Dorian Williams is a dude… Preseason AAC Defensive Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/khGx74bscm
There is plenty of appeal with Williams due to the athleticism and career production. But I have some questions.
It’s not likely Williams will be a full-time MIKE linebacker for the Buffalo Bills as he wasn’t tasked with that role in college. Letting Williams run and chase while avoiding take-ons when possible is where he will thrive on defense. That best position for him will be at WILL linebacker. General manager Brandon Beane confirmed as such during his Day 2 recap press conference.
Bills GM Brandon Beane said they're going to have LB Dorian Williams begin his career as an outside linebacker in their scheme.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) April 29, 2023
The Bills got fair value for Williams, but it’s fair to question what the plan is at linebacker without being able to identify a true MIKE left in the draft. The Bills aren’t ruling out a move for Williams to play multiple spots, but the true MIKE spot remains a head-scratching entity. Williams is a better football player from day one than Terrel Bernard, and he will get on the field to play special teams. He was an ace in the third phase for the Green Wave. Hopefully he becomes the same for the Buffalo Bills.