The Steelers certainly needed to find depth across the defensive line and they do just that with the selection of Samford defensive tackle Nick Williams in the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday with the 223rd overall pick.
Williams can come in and compete immediately for a backup role because Pittsburgh has struggled with their depth on the defensive front for years. Brett Keisel is solid and Ziggy Hood has shown flashes, but Cameron Heyward hasn't impressed and beyond that there's not much.
Williams has good size and build. He plays the downhill and is long and sleek. Williams can be more than just a run defender as he accumulated seven sacks last season at Samford.
Williams is an interesting guy for the Steelers.
At 6'4" and 309 pounds, he certainly has the size Pittsburgh looks for in a five-technique defensive end. But unlike the ends the Steelers currently have on the roster, Williams is more of a pass rusher than run defender.
That brings an interesting fold into the Steelers defensive plans.
Regardless, Williams has the size to play defensive end in the Steelers scheme and is at the least good depth for the team in the meantime.
Honestly, Williams could jump right into the Steelers rotation if they feel he's ready. That's a big if, however.
Williams has only been playing football for five years and is still pretty raw. But he makes plays solely on instinct. He won't be able to do what he did at Samford in the NFL, but he can still make some things happen.
Williams certainly could battle his way into the rotation. He'd have to beat out Al Woods which isn't saying a whole lot.
Pittsburgh gets potential in the seventh round of the draft which isn't a bad thing. They'll have to unleash that potential and let Williams grown into a football player. I gave the grade a B because there are still good players on the board.
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