Mario Williams DE 6’7 295 North Carolina St. Jr.
By: Robert Davis
NFL Combine Stats: 40-yard dash - 4.66, 225 bench press - 35 reps, vertical jump - 40.5"
Teaming with Manny Lawson, Mario Williams has helped give NC St. the most feared edge rush duo in college football. As a freshman in 2003, Williams made an immediate impact. For the year he tallied 56 tackles, 13 for loss, and five sacks. He was named to everyone’s Frosh All American lists. As a sophomore, his numbers were almost identical. He finished with 57 tackles, 15 for loss, and six sacks. Williams upped his output for the season finishing with 62 tackles, 24 for loss, and 14.5 sacks.
There may not be a better physical specimen at any position in the draft. Williams has fantastic size for a defensive end, but couples that with supreme athleticism. He draws a lot of comparisons to Julius Peppers for his size and athleticism combination. Mario has the quickness off the line, the ability to change direction, and the closing speed to be a major factor as a pass rusher. But his height and bulk allow him to be a force against the run as well.
Despite being so talented, Williams has not dominated like he should. He just seems to disappear at times. For how big and athletic he is, he should just own opposing tackles. Perhaps that is because he still relies on his athleticism to make plays. Whatever the reason, it does cause some concern.
Williams may end up being the first defensive player selected in April. His upside is that tremendous. He is not as good a prospect as Julius Peppers was, because along with all his talent, Peppers dominated games too. But, the ability is there. Mario is a top 10 lock, and should land in the Top five of the draft.
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