Friday, May 3, 2013
Ravens' Williams more than video wonder
By Jamison Hensley
Brandon Williams, who played at Missouri Southern State, is getting his shot with the Ravens.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Brandon Williams is known as the 335-pound nose tackle who can walk on his hands for about 10 seconds. His YouTube video has made the rounds, and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh brought it up after the team selected him in the third round.
So, it's not a surprise that a couple of his newest teammates asked him to do it at the start of rookie minicamp.
"I've been doing that since I was a kid," Williams said. "I don't think I could do that anymore."
That's the only thing Williams acknowledged he can't do. In talking to him for a couple of minutes, he makes it very clear he's a small-school player who is determined to prove he belongs on the big stage.
Coming from Missouri Southern State, Williams was a three-time All-American in Division II, showing strength and agility rarely seen at that level. The Ravens were obviously impressed with him. It's the first time they've taken a small-school player in the first three rounds since drafting cornerback Lardarius Webb in the third round in 2009.
"I've got a huge chip on my shoulder coming from DII. It's that much more of a challenge for me," Williams said. "I'm up for the challenge, just to get out here and show, 'Hey I'm DII but I can still play. I'm here. I'm in Baltimore jersey right now playing with all of you guys from Division I, and I'm playing as hard as you, playing better than you and I'm here to stay.'"
Williams also wants to change the perception that small-school players need time to develop. He'll likely get a chance to compete with underachieving Terrence Cody for the starting nose tackle job. The Ravens are focused on improving last year's run defense, which ranked 20th in the NFL.
"I'm driven and I'm motivated to work harder than the person in front of me," Williams said.
There will be a transition in going against centers from Lindenwood and Pittsburg State (the school in Kansas that is a long ways from Heinz Field). In the AFC North, Williams will face the likes of Maurkice Pouncey and Alex Mack.
Williams certainly has the tools to succeed. He was one of the strongest players in the draft, tying new Bengals defensive end Margus Hunt for the most bench presses of any prospect at the NFL scouting combine.
Plus, Williams is extremely agile for his size, although he probably won't need to ever walk on his hands again.
"You got to be quicker than guy in front of you," Williams said. "He knows the count and he knows where he's going. You got to mirror him and beat him across his face or beat him to the quarterback. You definitely rely on mobility, speed and agility."