Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series analyzing the seven Steelers draft picks. Each article will focus on a player’s strengths, weaknesses, and fit with the organization. Every Steelers selection will also be rated based on position needs and available prospects
If championships are won based on the first three rounds of the draft, the Steelers are in good shape. If they are won in the final four rounds of the draft, Pittsburgh could be in for a long drought.
Offensive guard Keith Williams was lucky enough to hear is name called by the Steelers in round six of this year’s NFL Draft. The Nebraska alum is not the elite, but raw talent teams tend to find in the later rounds. Instead, Williams is a big frame and ultra competitor. Many times fans see the term ‘competitor’ as a buzz word simply thrown out when there is little to say about an athlete–that is exactly the case in this situation.
The 6’4″ guard has the frame to block any NFL defensive lineman. Weighing in at 318 lbs, Williams stands his ground well when faced with a heavier opponents. He rarely is beaten by a bull rush and is strong enough to out-battle smaller guys. Unfortunately, Williams’ speed matches his frame. Slow feet allow rushers to beat him on the outside and quickly penetrate the backfield. Often times he counters speed rushers by lunging to knock them off of their rout, but this tactic rarely works and usually results in a holding penalty.
Williams is also slow off the snap. The Missouri native is a good pass blocker but has developed some bad tendencies. His upright positioning allows defenders to gain more leverage and knock him off balance. He also lacks lateral quickness–a necessary tool in an offensive lineman’s repertoire. Williams can potentially improve in this area though, as he excels at pulling around the line to block. If he can learn to add that mobility into his stationary blocking duties, he may find a spot on the Steelers roster.
One thing that Williams does bring to the table is a great attitude. A hard worker, he started at Nebraska three straight years. It is nice to see a guy who know’s that he isn’t the most talented, but is willing to constantly work on his game.
Williams is a stretch to make the opening day roster, but with practice, the 6th-round pick could become a viable backup guard–something the Steelers have needed in the past. It is hard to be either too upset or too thrilled about this pick. Simply put: Williams is the kind of project many teams end up with late in the draft.