Throughout the offseason, we’ll be profiling players who may end up in Denver when all is said and done with NFL Free Agency. The Broncos clearly have plenty of holes to fill before they get back to Super-Bowl form and we’ll be examining a long list of players they may choose to help the franchise do just that.
Brandon Williams may be the best free agent on the market that nobody has heard of, or at least not many. The 6-foot-1, 340-pound nose tackle has done about everything possible to go under the radar, from attending Missouri Southern State University to being a third round pick with a specialty of stopping the run.
While the stat sheet doesn’t light up under Williams’ name, his play on the field is hard to miss. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Williams is the 9th-best free agent on the market calling him the “one-man solution” to a team’s run defense.
Since most NFL teams run a 4-3 defense rather than a 3-4, it is harder to come by true 3-4 nose tackles, especially game changing one’s like Williams. Just as a true nose tackle, Williams is excellent at clogging up the middle and making it difficult for opposing offense’s to move the ball between the hash marks. Often double, and sometimes triple-teamed, Williams holds his weight at the line as good as anyone in the league.
Besides being an excellent run stopper, the four-year vet is durable as he hasn’t missed a game the past three seasons. Additionally, the 28-year-old (once the season starts) still has plenty of game left in him and should be able to play strong throughout the entirety of a long contract that he is likely to receive.
As with any great player, especially one on the open market, the price tag is typically steep, and Williams is no exception. In fact, Williams will not be looking to take any sort of deal as he is looking for his first big payday in the NFL.
As a third-round pick in 2013, Williams’ has played his entire career under his rookie contract, which has paid him just over $2 million in his four-year career. To a non-NFL player, that’s a lot of money, but to an elite professional, that isn’t much, and that’s exactly why he’ll be looking for the big bucks in March. He could be looking for a payday anywhere from $9 to $15 million from whichever team locks him up.
While it shouldn’t be held against him because he’s not asked to do it, Williams rarely gets to the quarterback in the passing game, only compiling 4.5 sacks in his career.
How he fits in Denver
With defensive coordinator Joe Woods saying that the Broncos’ defense will stay the same as last year, Williams would fit right in as Sylvester Williams replacement. Not only would it be a natural replacement because they both have the same last names, the would-be former Raven would be a substantial upgrade for the Denver Broncos defensive line.
With just one move, general manager John Elway could put Denver’s run defense right back to the top of the league by signing Williams, but it would come at a high cost.