Welcome back to part three of this four part series on who the Vikings should pick in the first round of this year’s draft. After covering two prospects for the Vikings at pick 18, Andre Dillard and Noah Fant, let’s talk about another highly touted prospect who fills one of the Vikings the biggest need on the Offensive Line.
Prospect: Jonah Williams
Why he’d be good for the Vikings:
Jonah Williams is considered one of the top OL prospects in this entire draft, and it’s for good reason. He’s a three year starter from Alabama and coming off of a great final season. He can play either tackle or guard depending on your preference and has shown consistency, durability, and a relentless motor throughout his years at Alabama, which is huge for a physical player like himself. Not only that, but Williams has displayed good footwork in pass protection, great body control, and impressive strength at the point of attack with excellent hand placement, as you can see in the clip below. ( I imagine Williams said “Sit Down, Be Humble” to the defender as he knocked him down)
Jonah Williams with a shot to the body! pic.twitter.com/MAdGc4y1BJ
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) January 16, 2019
But it isn’t just his pass blocking that would make him a good draft pick for the Vikings. He’s a competent run blocker with spurts of aggressiveness and strength. He has great athleticism to reach the second level (which is about 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage where linebackers typically play). Check out the clips below and see first-hand how Jonah gets to the second level, engages the defender and continues to push back the linebacker to create a running lane for his running back.
ALERT – Young O-lineman: @AlabamaFTBL / 1st Team All-SEC LT 73 Jonah Williams demonstrates beautifully what it means to “run off the football” and “accelerate on contact”. #OL101 #OL #RollTide #RTR pic.twitter.com/AlCs8RMa86
— Aaron Taylor (@AaronTaylorCFB) December 5, 2018
And in this clip you’ll see him use his size and strength to seal off the defender and create a huge hole for his RB to get into the end zone. I mean, he’s essentially taking away three guys on this play.
Watch Jonah Williams (73) absolutely destroy No. 90 on this down block. Talk about clearing him out. 😍 pic.twitter.com/DzLrlSGlJW
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) September 3, 2018
Things he needs to work on:
The first “issue” that you will hear about Williams is his length, I think the consensus among most people evaluating him is that his arms are too short to be an effective tackle (you can check out this awesome article on PFF about Williams and his length). Because of this power rushers could be an issue for him in the NFL, especially since he is on the smaller side for an offensive tackle. These could be some of the reasons for moving him inside to play guard instead of tackle at the next level. He has a lot of power at the POA and he’s very athletic and able to sort of cover up a lot of his flaws, but sometimes this happens.
Rare to see Jonah Williams beat like this – Ferrell has great hands, power, length and often attacks with a plan (to gain leverage). Fantastic rush from him: pic.twitter.com/gJjnh8f3zK
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) January 27, 2019
He does have very good recovery though, and if he can hone in more on his craft, it would just be another bonus for an already great player.
BIG reason Jonah Williams is going to be the 1st tackle taken. Body control & RECOVERY. Not many guys can get out of this bind vs an elite defender. These two had a heck of a battle Monday night. This is insane to be able to sit back down on this. pic.twitter.com/LJTpG8wAYM
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) January 10, 2019
There will be mixed reviews about Jonah Williams actual position, but he’s a technician and as consistent as they come. pic.twitter.com/GKcabiZfrv
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 11, 2019
Just like any of the last couple guys we talked about, Jonah Williams would be a great addition to this group and would help solidify a huge need for the Vikings. He possesses good footwork, and is great in pass blocking and run blocking. The issues that he has to work on are very minimal and I feel like most coaches in the NFL can help transform a player like Williams into an anchor on the either side of the line for years to come. If at the end of round one we are talking about how Jonah Williams helps the Vikings, I think most will be very happy.
Also be sure to check out the podcast series that Jayson, Myles, and JR have been working on.