Potential Cowboys’ Draft Picks: Sylvester Williams, Alec Ogletree, and Matt Elam
I recently broke down a few different prospects that could interest Dallas in the first or second rounds. The first is UNC defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.
Williams is a big, powerful defensive tackle who nonetheless can move with speed. He’s extremely quick off of the ball—consistently the first person off of the snap at UNC—despite his 6’3’’, 313-pound frame. Like Purdue’s Kawann Short—someone I profiled yesterday—Williams is one of the few defensive tackles in this draft that I see being scheme versatile. He’s strong enough to hold up at the point, but he’s fast enough to penetrate as a one-gap defensive tackle. He was used as the latter sort of defensive tackle at UNC.
As a pass rusher, Williams parlays his quickness and strength into an excellent bull rush. When he gets a jump on the ball, he can quickly drive interior linemen into the backfield. He combines his bull rush with an outstanding swim move—probably the best in this draft class. Williams also has great play recognition; I saw about a half-dozen screens thrown against him and he wasn’t fooled by one.
Also at NBC is my report on Georgia inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
When you watch Ogletree on film, the first thing that stands out is his speed. Ogletree can absolutely fly, excelling in coverage and pursuit. Whether he’s chasing down a ball-carrier or dropping with a tight end, Ogletree looks like a safety. To say he’s a fluid athlete is an understatement; he’s one of the most natural movers at the linebacker position that I’ve studied in a while.
That doesn’t mean Ogletree will automatically be an elite linebacker in the NFL, though. He certainly has that potential, but right now he’s not a natural at the position. He takes false steps and tries to run around blockers as opposed to taking them on. He’s a lean player—not your “prototypical” inside linebacker—and he plays like that. He’s really an extra safety down in the box.
And finally, I just posted my scouting report on Florida safety Matt Elam at Dallas News.
Elam’s greatest strength as a safety is his versatility. At Florida, he lined up all over the place—in the box, in the slot, and in a single-high deep position. He’s a highly-athletic football player who can do a lot of things well; he’s a sensational tackler—more consistent than people think—and can be solid in coverage if used properly.
In the running game, Elam excels when he can fly up to make hits. Even from a deep position, he’s capable of making big plays behind the line-of-scrimmage. You can see an example of that at the 27-second mark below. The willingness to come up to make a hit that you see there is an always-present characteristic of Elam’s game. He’s much like former Colts safety Bob Sanders in that way.
Elam’s also capable of playing in traffic. He’s a really strong, physical safety who can resemble a linebacker when he’s in the box, taking on blockers, shedding, and making tackles.
In the passing game, Elam has the ability to make big plays. He had six picks last year and he has good (but not great) speed. Elam is strong in underneath zones, reading the quarterback very well and jumping routes. He was used to cover slot receivers at Florida, although he doesn’t display the same sort of consistency in man coverage. You can see him whiff on a press at the 4:56 mark above.
See the entire article at DMN.