Yahoo Sports' top 2019 NFL draft prospects, No. 12: Alabama OL Jonah Williams

Yahoo Sports

Leading up to the 2019 NFL draft, which starts April 25, Yahoo Sports will count down our top 100 overall prospects. We’ll count them down 10 at a time, followed by profiles on our top 30 overall players.

Previous entries: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30. Drew Lock | 29. Deandre Baker | 28. Taylor Rapp | 27. Garrett Bradbury | 26. Dexter Lawrence | 25. Jerry Tillery | 24. Josh Jacobs | 23. Christian Wilkins | 22. Cody Ford | 21. Noah Fant | 20. Andre Dillard | 19. Greedy Williams | 18. Dwayne Haskins | 17. Rashan Gary | 16. D.K. Metcalf | 15. Clelin Ferrell | 14. Florida OT Jawaan Taylor | 13. Byron Murphy

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12. Alabama OL Jonah Williams

6-foot-4, 302 pounds

Key stat: Blocking for future Washington QB Jake Browning, another 2019 draft prospect, Williams enjoyed an incredible career at Folsom (California) High School. The team went 16-0 in his junior season, outscoring opponents 915-166 en route to winning a state title, and lost its only game in the championship the next year. Factor in Williams’ record at Bama (41-3, three national-title appearances, one championship) and he’s lost only four football games since the end of his sophomore year of high school and finished each of his past five years playing for a championship.

The skinny: A five-star recruit, Williams committed to Alabama and enrolled early, able to parlay that into a rare starting role at the vaunted program for a true freshman. Starting all five games at right tackle for the Crimson Tide in 2016, Williams earned SEC All-Freshman and Freshman All-America honors. After Cam Robinson left school, Williams took his place as Bama’s starting left tackle for the national champions in 2017, starting all 14 games. He earned third-team All-America mention and was named to the first-team SEC squad.

In 2018, Williams was named first-team All-America and all-SEC and was an Outland Trophy Award finalist in starting all 15 games for the national runners-up. Williams, who turns 22 years old in November, declared early for the 2019 NFL draft.

Upside: Terrific feet and balance as both a run and pass blocker, but especially in the run game. Works his feet well and generates movement even in tight quarters. Doesn’t stall on contact and keeps motor revved up. Excellent knee bend to fully harness power and movement. Great on traps and pulls where he can get out into space and hit moving targets. Plays in control and yet possesses some pop on the move. Has good short-area redirection and understands angles extremely well.

Hands stay tight to his frame – expert hand technician. Quick off the snap and ready to roll. Beautiful kick step and stays light on his feet. Quick to push rushers wide of the arc and varies up his drops. Smooth in his movement. Handles countermoves and line stunts and twists easily. Underrated core strength – helps him keep balance and get defenders off their spots. Even if he’s shocked with power or speed initially, Williams recovers fast and earns a ton of stalemates. Could project to four positions – has starting experience at both tackle spots and easily could slide into guard and play at a high level.

Saying he’s a student of the game doesn’t properly explain Williams’ commitment to the game. He’s a detail-obsessed film junkie who remembers his handful of failures far longer than his slew of wins. Aims for consistent excellence. Self-motivated and studious – a coaching staff’s dream from a preparation standpoint. Handled demanding duties under three different offensive coordinators at Bama and seldom missed an assignment. Unilaterally considered a leader on a team with sky-high alpha dogs and nothing short of championship expectations every single season. An extremely clean evaluation.

Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine. (AP Photo)
Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine. (AP Photo)

Downside: Length is average – a bit shorter and shorter arms (33 5/8 inches) than most starting NFL tackles. Although many NFL teams like him outside, some are projecting him inside to guard. Ideally, he’d add bulk and put on weight – if his frame can support it. Not a naturally elite athlete – testing numbers ranged from good to below-average at the combine. Had a tough time against Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell in the national title game and strangely struggled this past season against a less-talented Arkansas D-line.

More of a finesse player, some scouts say – although Williams scoffs at this. There are times when he tries to do a little too much out there. Will peel off his blocks to help elsewhere in pass protection. Can miss on moving targets in space against faster defenders. Lacks a true finishing element – not a road grader, per se. So technically sound, but approaches his battles more like a rapier-wielding swashbuckler than a battle-axe warrior.

Best-suited destination: There really isn’t a team with which Williams wouldn’t fit. He has four-position versatility and even worked on snapping in practice just in case. A reliable, studious, extremely consistent blocker with a very high floor (at worst he’s a solid starter for eight years) and a good-but-not-sky-high ceiling (Pro Bowl potential, although maybe not among the two or three best at his position), Williams has mass appeal. Among the NFL teams we could see being especially interested in his services include the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens.

Fact: Williams said at the NFL scouting combine that he has no hobbies other than football. But it turns out he also has a passion for cooking. And he certainly talks like a man who knows his way around the kitchen more than your average 21-year-old.

They said it “He’s the most consistent player I’ve ever played with. Like, it’s almost ridiculous sometimes watching him on tape. He just goes out there and stones people. Every week. You’d watch him and look for flaws and you’d really not see any. He’s like a cyborg out there.”

— Alabama OG Ross Piersbacher at the Senior Bowl

Player comp: Joe Staley or Bryan Bulaga

Expected draft range: First-round pick

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