NFL Draft Prospect: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina All Green Bay Packers All the Time


Sylvester Williams
North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: Defensive Tackle Sylvester Williams

Player Information:

Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle, University of North Carolina

6’3″, 305 pounds

Hometown: Jefferson City, MO


NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.99

225-pound bench: 27 reps

Vertical: 26 1/2″

News and Notes:

After nearly giving up on football and dropping out of high school, Williams gave the game another try during his junior year at Coffeyville Community College.  He spent two years there (honorable mention JUCO All-American with 12.5 tackles for loss and five blocked kicks) before transferring to Chapel Hill. . became an immediate starter at UNC in 2011. . .still managed 42 stops in 2012 despite heavy focus from opposing offensive blocking schemes.. .  earned First Team All-ACC honors from both coaches and the media with a career high 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • “Possesses a naturally large, thick build. Possesses a very quick first step and a lethal swim move (both arms, if necessary) to slip past interior linemen. Varies his burst off the snap, lulling his opponent into relaxing and can make the explosive tackle behind the line of scrimmage before the ball-carrier has had time to make his first cut.”
  • “Wide body nose tackle with an unexpected bit of quickness off the snap. Has girth through the middle that makes him tough to move when he looks to anchor. Keeps his eyes in the backfield and locates the ball well (and will sniff out the occasional screen). Uses strong hands and upper body to rip past and push aside lesser linemen. Good flexibility and balance, showing the ability to bend and roll his hips through contact off the ball and keep a wide base to anchor against base blocks and doubles. Violent tackler, will throw ball carriers to the ground.”


Video Analysis:

  • Has a good initial burst off the snap
  • When pad level is low, he holds his ground. Is tough to move
  • Effective swim move but many scouts say he relies too heavily on it
  • Moves well down the line – can erase cut back lanes and defend the screen well
  • Does not bull rush well and gets stood up at times
  • As with many college D-linemen, O-linemen will let him over pursue the QB up field

If drafted by the Packers: compares Williams to Terrance Knighton.  Some mock drafts have him going late in the first round.  If Ted Thompson decides defense is still the top priority, Williams could get a look.  He doesn’t appear to be an every-down player at the NFL level but could create a nice rotation at nose tackle with an aging Ryan Pickett and BJ Raji.  His inconsistency makes him a bit of a question mark for teams looking for a big body up front but Thompson may value the depth that a guy like Williams can provide.  He is raw and would need to learn to play within the scheme of the 3-4 (occupying blockers vs. straight pass rush) but he has the tools to be effective right away.  Would be a solid first and second down player.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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8 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina

  1. he looks like he has some burst, but get too upright off the snap. the stuff i have watched he is constantly playing patty cake with the OL. he has some talent, but i do not think he is as good as a lot of draftniks seem to think he is.

  2. He’s basically a clone of Jerel Worthy. Very similar size and game. Williams won’t be able to play NT, he would be a 34 DE. Same problems as Worthy in that he’s not an ideal fit as a 34 DE. Not long enough, doesn’t disrupt passing lanes. Same speed and 10 split, but Worthy is much quicker off the ball and in general quickness.

    Now if you want more of a 34 DE then Kawann Short w/ his long 35 in arms and as a guy that blocks passes and disrupts passing lanes is the better fit

    1. Agreed. Kawann Short is very good at getting his hands up into the passing lanes. The Packers need more of that.

      Personally, I like Hankins better than either Short or Williams. Heseems to hold the point well and closes with a good burst.

      1. Hankins would be my 2nd choice. He is a little more stout, but isn’t as good w/ disrupting passing lanes or pass rush in general, IMO as Short would be.

  3. Heard him interviewed on WSSP and he’s definetely got the right attitude. They need to get the Dline into a rotation that allows fresh legs on the field at all times. Yah, that’s probably not possible, but it’s worth the effort.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing him in Green and Gold.

  4. Margus Hunt over this guy all day long. Hunt is going to be the next Mad Stork of the NFL.

    1. Hunt is a 43 DE! All his sacks come as an edge rusher, not a DT. Our edge rushers are Matthews and Perry. So Hunt would have to be an interior pass rusher and he’s not accomplished inside. Not too mention he would get pushed around vs the run! Put Hunt at 43 DE like a Jared Allen and he might be very good, but as a 34 DE for the Packers he would be a bust. Unless you want to play him at OLB, where he would be a long term project which at 25 yrs old won’t work either.

      Hunt (6’8 277)
      Jared Allen (6’6 270)
      Richard Seymour, a true 34 DE (6’6 310)

      Who is Hunt compared to?

  5. Just don’t see the value in a guy who doesn’t appear to fit the system in the early rounds. You can always use guys who play with fire and attitude, but I think this is a bad investment given other pressing needs.

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