Chicago Bears Draft Profile: DT Terry Williams
Williams flashes elite athleticism for a 350 pounder. At times, like games vs Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Temple, Williams was an unblockable force inside. If he played a whole season like he did against a Virginia Tech team who was ranked in the top 20 at the time, Williams may have been a day 2 pick. The talent is there for Williams to be an impact nose tackle in the NFL. He has a very quick first step, fires off the ball low to the ground, shows surprising lateral agility for a man his size, has two polished pass rush moves (spin & rip), can stack and shed, and when motivated is too strong to be blocked by just 1 offensive lineman. Williams has also shown good football instincts with the ability to read plays and get his hands in passing lanes at the right time.
There were a few reasons a 350 pounder with elite athleticism managed to get passed over for 7 rounds of the NFL draft. The biggest red flag is the fact that he was suspended 4 separate times in college for weed related transgressions. Williams also has had issues keeping his weight at a manageable level, he was much more effective his sophomore year at 330 than at 350 his senior year. Lastly, his play was inconsistent; Williams dominated against ranked teams like Virginia Tech and North Carolina, but was invisible against weak teams like Tulane and Tulsa. For Williams to be an effective NFL player he will need to stay out of trouble, keep his weight under control, and give a consistent effort every week. There are a lot of things that need to go right for Williams to make it, but the talent is there for him to do so and the Bears risked nothing signing him to a minimum rookie deal.
With the Bears transitioning to a 3-4 scheme, they need a few nose tackles who can occupy blockers in the middle of the line and free up the linebackers to make plays. The Bears used a 2nd round pick on NT Eddie Goldman who is projected to be the starter, but they have little depth behind Goldman at the position. Veteran DT Jay Ratliff doesn’t have the bulk to be a 2-gap player inside and would be better off at the RE (Justin Smith) position in Fangio’s scheme. 2014’s 2nd round pick Ego Ferguson could bulk up a little and play NT, but he had trouble with double teams as a rookie, ending up on his ass way too often. Ferguson may be a better fit as a 5-tech DE, which would leave a spot open for Williams as a backup NT. Playing limited snaps in a rotation may be the best fit for Williams, allowing him to go all out in short bursts and use his surprising quickness to disrupt interior blockers. If he can keep himself out of trouble, his weight around 335, and his effort level consistent… Williams could be a factor inside and significantly improve the Bears run defense.