NFL Hot Press: Alabama DT Quinnen Williams Projected as a High First-Rounder

Alabama DT Quinnen Williams Projected as a High First-Rounder

Updated Oct. 5, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Entering the 2018 season, the Alabama defensive line prospect who garnered the most media attention was Raekwon Davis. During the Crimson Tide’s National Championship run in the 2017 season, Davis formed a dynamic duo with Da’Ron Payne to make the Alabama defensive line lethal at the point of attack. With Payne in the NFL having followed the footsteps of Jonathan Allen, many expected Davis to be the top Alabama defensive line prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, but that was before Quinnen Williams put together a breakout performance to open the 2018 season. Source from multiple teams tell that they are projecting Williams to be a high first-round pick if he enters the 2019 NFL Draft.

Sources at multiple teams, including one general manager, feel that Williams will grade out as a high first-round pick if he is able to stay consistent with his early-season performance. Williams grading out as a high first-rounder could put him on a par with Houston’s Ed Oliver and Auburn’s Derrick Brown as the top interior defensive line prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. Some team sources think Williams is better than Brown and have him higher, while a couple of others preferred Brown because he’s bigger and could have more versatility in terms of the techniques he could play in the NFL. Both Brown and Williams are viewed as having huge upside for the NFL, as they are still very young players who are just scratching the surface of what they are capable of doing on a football field.

Sources say they are hearing out of Alabama that the redshirt sophomore Williams plans on filing paperwork with the NFL Draft Advisory Board for the 2019 NFL Draft. If Williams hears a high first-round projection, he could easily enter the 2019 NFL Draft, and that is what many NFL evaluators think is likely. Most redshirt sophomores return to school, but every year, there are a few who skip their final two years of eligibility to attempt to move on to the NFL.

Through the first five weeks of the season, Williams has been the most consistent play-maker and disruptor on the Crimson Tide’s defensive line. He has 18 tackles with four tackles for a loss and one pass batted so far, but he also tends to only play one half of most games before Alabama empties the bench during blowout after blowout. Williams has caused a lot more disruption than the numbers indicate, plus has impressed with his ability to rush the passer from the inside. Williams is extremely fast at the point of attack with the ability to fire a gap and cause havoc in the backfield. A number of sources view him as a three-technique for the NFL.

While Williams is viewed as the most talented Alabama lineman right now, some sources are still high on Raekwon Davis, who they see as a sure-fire first-rounder. Here is how one scout summarized Davis, “I still think he’s a top guy and worth of being a top-10 pick. He may not go that high because of how loaded this draft is on the d-line. (Alabama) is so good, and Raekwon’s only played like 10 quarters of football this year, and that suppresses the production. You just can’t move up. Double teams, side pressures; it doesn’t matter, he can’t be moved.” The 2019 NFL Draft will be the year of the defensive lineman, as there could be a total in the teens grading out as first-round picks. After his tremendous start in 2018, Quinnen Williams could be one of the first players off the board, because multiple team sources see him as a high first-rounder if he stays consistent with how he started this season. Scouts have Williams as the same caliber of prospect as Brown and Oliver almost halfway through 2018.