The Jaguars are currently missing a difference maker on the interior of the Defensive Line, but luckily there are several DT's this year that could fill that void. UNC DT Sylvester Williams is one of those players, and is a player who is flying a bit below the radar to most, due to a strong DT Class that includes Star, Shariff Floyd, Sheldon Richardson, and Jessie Williams. But I believe Sylvester Williams deserves to be thrown into the conversation as one of the drafts top DT's prospects.
Sylvester Williams is a big man who has the look of a space eating DT, but his game is completely different from that. His surprisingly quick first step is easily one of the best in the entire DT class, and his quickness translates to the rest of his game as well. His interior pass rushing skills are very impressive, as He is able to use his first step to initially beat Offensive lineman off the snap and quickly penetrate his gap. He also has a very good amount of natural strength, that when combined with his quickness, enables him to force lineman off balance and penetrate into the backfield.
He flashes the ability to effectively bull rush due to his natural strength, but seems to rely on his athleticism too much when rushing the passer and doesn't utilize his bull rush enough on a consistent basis. It almost seems at times that he tries to run by the lineman, even though he has the physical tools to force them back towards the quarterback. He is able to penetrate the gap several different ways, whether it is fighting across the guards face with an impressive swim move, or attacking the lineman's outside shoulder with his agility. Considering his size, He showed good closing speed on quarterbacks whenever he penetrates the pocket.
He needs to learn more pass rushing moves other than his swim move though, as he seems to overly rely on it. His hand usage was inconsistent also, and is something he will have to develop more at the next level. If he can learn to begin to use his natural strength more to compliment his agility in the passing game, he will become a top notch interior rusher in the NFL. He has all of the tools, and then some. He just needs to put them all together.
While his pass rush skills are impressive, his run defense is equally good. While he primarily played 3 Technique, he frequently took snaps at 1 technique, and is capable of starting at both spots in the NFL. While he doesn't utilize his power enough when rushing the passer, it is clearly on display in run defense. He has the strength to be able to anchor the middle of the line, and give up little, to no ground. He was able to not only anchor against double teams, but he also put his quickness to good use and split many double teams.
He frequently kept his pad level low, but at times rose up off the snap and was able to be moved off the line. He showed flashes of a player being able to become a 2 gap run defender (Which is a big reason why he could be an attractive option to the Jags if he falls to #33) but his awareness in the run game left something to be desired. There were times where he took himself out of some plays by trying to over utilize his quickness and blindly penetrated the gap, and then was unable to locate the ball.
I have no questions about his motor, as he showed excellent backside pursuit on most plays. But there were times his pursuit backfired on him, as he seemed to wear down late in games. His stamina is definitely something he will have to improve on. He is also very scheme versatile, as he could be a 3 tech, or a 1 tech in a 4-3 defense, and a 5 tech in a 3-4 defense.
Overall, the sky is the limit for Williams. He has a rare skill set of raw strength and penetrating ability that is hard to find, and if coached up on a few technique things (primarily keeping pads low consistently, more rush moves) and if he learns to use his power to his advantage, he has the potential to become a terrific NFL Defensive Lineman.