Williams Williams or Williams?
“With the 5th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: ____ Williams!”
That’s right, with the Bucs first pick in the 2019 draft, they’re likely to take one of three players who all happen to share the last name, Williams. The Bucs, for the most part, have a solid core of players on both sides of the football, but still, have some glaring needs. All of these “Williams” would be an instant plug-and-play player that would tremendously help fill these needs. But with all of them being blue chip, first-round caliber, who should the Bucs choose if left between a choice of all three?
In 2017, the Buccaneers had one of the worst pass rushing defenses in team history, with only 22 sacks through the year, an average of less than two per game as a team. Enter star DE Jason Pierre Paul, previously with the Giants, who put up the first double-digit sacks for the Bucs since 2005 with 12.5 sacks. The Bucs also brought in Eagles teammates Beau Allen and Vinny Curry. While they may have only combined for 2.5 sacks, they helped keep some of the best RB’s in the league contained, bolstering Tampa’s run defense. The Buccaneers then drafted DT Vita Vea out of Washington, who although spent multiple weeks sidelined with an injury, still had 3 sacks, 4 QB hits, and 28 tackles. These numbers may not sound impressive, but the film shows just how strong and instinctive Vea is. With more snaps and time working alongside guys like JPP and other breakout players like Carl Nassib, who had 6 sacks himself, Vita Vea can assert himself as a force to be reckoned with. The problem now lies with possible cap casualties, such as star DE Gerald McCoy, who Is owed $13million, but has never produced a 10-sack season. Even Vinny Curry and Beau Allen could be on the chopping block. If McCoy is let go, the Bucs will need another nasty pass rusher.
Enter Quinnen Williams, DE out of The University of Alabama. In his two years at Alabama, Williams has amassed 10 sacks, 22 passes defended, 56 tackles. The numbers may not jump out at you, but his aggressiveness, power, and sheer speed off the ball, and his ability to shed blockers well, should. At 6 ft 4 and nearly 300 pounds, he has the build, the speed to get into the backfield, and length to strip the ball. Williams would immediately make Todd Bowles defense one to be feared and would help take the pressure off of the cornerbacks while trying to follow some of the fastest WR’S for what seems to be as long as 7 seconds. Quinnen Williams is also a stout run stopper and could lessen the blow if the Bucs did decide to move on from McCoy and others to bring the Bucs defense one step closer to being dominant like it was back in the early 2000s.
Tampa’s defense for the past two seasons has left much to be desired, especially it’s secondary. The Buccaneers have been ranked as one of the bottom 8-10 teams defensively, and the worst against the pass in 2018 and 29th in 2017. The Bucs don’t have bad players, just young ones. The week 1 starting CB’s rookie Carlton Davis and 3rd-year man Vernon Hargreaves. VH3 would only play half of that week 1 game before ending up on IR. That left the Bucs starting two rookie CB’s, and alternating 2nd and 3rd string CB’s, Ryan Smith and Isaiah Johnson. Because of lack of experience and playing time as well as scheme and communication issues, the Bucs would go on a streak of allowing 400+ yards a game to opposing offenses. This led to DC Mike Smith being fired and some improvement came with it, but not soon enough to save the Bucs season, and with Brent Grimes all but out of the door at One Buc, the Bucs will need a replacement for the top corner.
Enter Greedy Williams, CB out of LSU. Greedy is a 6’3 185-pound speed demon with the ability to keep up with the fastest of receivers, another issue Tampa’s CB’s had. Greedy has the ideal height, speed, and football intelligence to immediately make an impact for the Bucs. He allowed a combined QBR of 38.7. This stat alone, combined with 8 INT, 9 passes defended, and 49 tackles in two years at LSU makes him a possible top ten draft pick. Watching Williams on film, he reads the receiver’s eyes to know when to get his head around and is not afraid to use his frame to box out receivers to make a play on the ball. His closing speed and tendencies to stick with WR’s like glue are helpful in his pass breakups and interceptions. With VH3 excelling in nickel sets, and Carlton Davis catching fire at the end of the 2018 season, Greedy could be plugged into the slot to go against the NFL’s fastest: and have success.
While the Buccaneers offense was firing on all cylinders, putting up a league-best 320 passing YPG, 3rd most yards per game (415), and the 12th most points per game (24), the rushing attack was abysmal at best, ranked 29th in the league with a mere 95 yards per game. This is mostly due to the fact that the offensive line struggled all season long. Caleb Benenoch, Demar Dotson, and even Donovan Smith all had a year they would like to forget. The Bucs will need to dive deep into why the lineman has struggled so much, and time may just be the reason. Demar Dotson, now 33, has declined over the last two seasons and moving on may be a serious option. Same could be said for Caleb Benenoch, who had such a bad season he earned a horrific 43 grade from PFF and was even benched at times for Evan Smith. Smith, however, could be moved to a new position, as he has been a solid lineman for the Bucs since 2015. The Bucs need to fix their swiss-cheese line if they want to have the deadly offense they wish for and want to take the pressure off QB Jameis Winston.
With the offensive line possibly getting a makeover, the Bucs may use their 5th-overall pick on the top-rated offensive lineman, Jonah Williams out of the University of Alabama. At 6’5 and 300 pounds, Williams has incredible footwork for a big man and has the strength to regain stance after a bullrush. Jonah Williams can play more than one position on the offensive line, as he has played both left and right tackle. He also pulls up on the run block with force and can get downfield to provide lanes for running backs. Something the Bucs line hasn’t been able to do for two seasons.
These are all major need for the Buccaneers, the only question now is:
Which “Williams” will they choose?