1st round, pick 19: Jonah Williams OL, Alabama
There was a time where many believed that Jonah Williams would be the first non-defensive player taken off the board. It was almost assumed that the draft would start with Nick Bosa to the Arizona Cardinals, Josh Allen to the San Francisco 49ers and Williams to the New York Jets.
One of the biggest problems with the draft process is that people slowly discredit what they saw on film and start to find flaws with players that they liked. Does a guy move his feet perfectly? Is he winning against NFL competition? Even if he is getting the job done, will that translate to the next level?
All of these questions invade the evaluation of every player and they are necessary questions to ask, but it usually leads to people cooling off on players that they really liked. That is how names like Jaire Alexander, Minkah Fitzpatrick and plenty of others become great values.
That is why the Tennessee Titans were able to land a top-10 player at 19.
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At this point, most people know Williams. He is a very talented offensive lineman who some people are worried can’t play offensive tackle because of his arm length (which barely misses the mark). On top of this he is only an average athlete, not elite.
That is the note on him, but the film shows an offensive lineman who understands what he is supposed to do on every play and who can quickly decide who to pick up when the Tide are running zone plays.
His smoothness and ability to get to the next level make up for his lack of top end athleticism because when you are confident in your assignment you don’t have to be a perfect athlete to get the job done.
Let’s step away from the field for a second. Recently it has come out that Jonah Williams is one of the most prepared offensive linemen anyone has interviewed. When I say that, I don’t mean that he knows his interview well, I mean that he has taken his game preparation to unheard of levels of detail.
There is a tweet (I couldn’t find it while writing this) where Williams shared one of his spreadsheets that he uses to chart opposing pass rushers before games. He watches game after game and breaks down whether they like to go outside or inside and move types, then he creates a web chart to help visualize the data.
He is a top talent who has been the best offensive lineman for Alabama since he started as a freshman. The Titans will love his experience, demeanor, physicality, football IQ, and how he has handled tough matchups.
In a pinch he has the versatility to play tackle for the Titans if they need it and potentially that is his job down the line, but for now he would come in and be a top end ZBS guard who you can trust to be prepared for his job week in and week out.