NFL Combine performance cements Quinnen Williams' status as elite prospect

NFL Combine performance cements Quinnen Williams' status as elite prospect

Quinnen Williams didn’t come into the NFL Scouting Combine with something to prove. The former Alabama defensive tackle simply planned to be himself in meetings and drills to support dynamic game tape from last season.

With no worries, no stress, Williams’ intelligence and ability would shine through.

“I don't really sell myself to NFL teams,” Williams said. “I really just answer the questions they have to the best of my ability and just let my actions speak for itself.”

Williams owned his Saturday press conference and individual team meetings. Then, on Sunday, he confirmed his status as an elite NFL draft prospect.

Williams ran a 4.87-second unofficial 40-yard dash at the combine, a lightning quick time for a 300-plus pound defensive lineman.

His agent Nicole Lynn told him to skip the second attempt, to let that awesome first run stand alone.

“He didn’t listen,” she wrote in a tweet. “Decided to bet on himself and beat his first time.”

Williams did exactly that, turning in a 4.83 on his second run. Per NFL Network, that the fourth fastest time for someone over 300 pounds and the fastest since 2012.

His 1.67-second 10-yard split is even more impressive, considering that distance is where defensive linemen start moving their feet. He showed great change of direction, lateral movement, agility, and coordination in other drills, proving his raw athleticism helps him create havoc on the defensive interior for the Crimson Tide.

We already knew Williams was a special player from watching Alabama. He has power and technique, with tremendous upside considering he was so successful in his only year’s experience playing on the defensive interior.

He was a consensus top-5 pick heading into the combine, and will leave as one.

The Raiders really liked Williams entering this week, the combine put him in greater esteem. After speaking with several sources at the combine, I believe that, if he’s available and the Raiders are on the clock at No. 4 overall, Williams won’t make it to No. 5.

They’d have a tough decision to make if Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa is still on the board, but he isn’t expected to last past the 49ers at No. 2.

The Raiders have zero concern about taking Williams a year after drafting P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst, either. Quality inside pass rushers are vital in today’s NFL.

“We drafted two young pass rushers inside last year,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “We might be in the market for another one.”

Williams would fit at No. 4. The real question, however, if he’ll last that long. The New York Jets could be a landing spot at No. 3, or a team could trade up to get him.

Quarterbacks going above the Raiders will push elite defensive prospects down to the fourth spot.

Williams could be that guy, or he could be one of the first off the board. Williams doesn’t care much about his exact draft slot. He just wants an opportunity to go play.

[RELATED: Why Williams should ace his scouting interviews]

“I know going No. 1 doesn't mean nothing, for real,” Williams said. “Like guy (with) five stars in high school, it's the same thing. Going to Alabama, you could be a five star on the sideline. So I know being a No. 1 draft pick, you could go to the NFL, and if you don't work, you going to be on the sideline. And I want to play. I had a great year last year and I want to keep that going and show the world that it wasn't just a burst out year, and that I'm a really good football player and I can play this game.”

He showed playing ability at Alabama. He showed he can run on Sunday, as you can see below.


NFL draft: Josh Jacobs could be heading to Raiders to replace Marshawn Lynch


NFL draft: Josh Jacobs could be heading to Raiders to replace Marshawn Lynch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marshawn Lynch's reported retirement was something that caught the attention of the top running back in the NFL draft.

“That’s crazy,” Alabama running back Josh Jacobs said on Wednesday. “He’s a legend. He's someone I definitely look up to, on and off the field.”

If the Raiders running back steps away for good, his career will end with 10,379 yards and 84 touchdowns rushing. He added another 2,214 yards of total offense with his receiving numbers, which includes nine touchdowns during his 11-season career.

“I like the effort he put into the game,” Jacobs said. “He runs like it means more than just football. He’s not complacent with just being in the league. He wants to go down as one of the greatest ever, and he brings that attitude to the game. Also, he keeps it fun.”

It is not out of the question the Raiders could tab Jacobs to replace Lynch. In addition to the No. 4 overall pick, the Raiders also have first-round selections at Nos. 24 and 27 – a fact with which Jacobs was already familiar.

“I don’t really think about it too much, I just let it play out," Jacobs said of the possibility of the Raiders selecting him on Thursday in the first round.

Jacobs (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) averaged 5.9 yards per rushing attempt during his three seasons at Alabama while sharing the duties with a talented group of backs during his time in college. Last season, Jacobs rushed for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 20 receptions for 247 yards and three TDs.

Although he did not made a pre-draft visit to Alameda, Jacobs said he had a lot of contact over the past couple months with coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. He met with them at the NFL Scouting Combine, and has been in regular contact via phone.

Jacobs said he can envision himself fitting into the Raiders’ offense, going along with quarterback Derek Carr and an improved group of wide receivers, which now includes Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

“They already have a great quarterback and, obviously, they’ve added some great additions at receiver,” Jacobs said. “So it’s about putting those little pieces together. It’s about fine-tuning things at this point. I feel like they’re a couple of games away from being great. They’re definitely going to make that step this year.”

NFL draft: Top prospects enjoyed visits to meet with Raiders staff


NFL draft: Top prospects enjoyed visits to meet with Raiders staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Raiders gave draft prospects a glimpse of what the future holds for the organization when the 30 players made it to Alameda for their pre-draft visits.

“I loved that visit,” Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa said of his April 11 visit to meet with the Raiders. “It was really cool. They showed me what their setup is going to be in Vegas.”

The Raiders, who will move to tax-free Nevada for the 2020 season, own three first-round draft picks, beginning with the No. 4 overall selection.

Some of the top prospects on Wednesday said the visit to meet with the Raiders stood out because of general manager Mike Mayock, coach Jon Gruden and the coaching staff.

“Whenever you’re hanging out with coach Gruden and Mayock, it’s a pretty good time,” Bosa said. “They’re really interesting. They love football more than anybody I’ve ever met.”

University of Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver said Raiders defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, who played 12 NFL seasons before retiring in 2005, made his trip memorable.

“The Raiders were my second visit, one of my more favorite visits,” Oliver said. “The D-line coach, coach Buckner, he and I have a special relationship.

“He’s as cool as a fan. I can say that coming straight from my heart, he’s as cool as a fan. I’d love working with him.”

Oliver is one of several options the Raiders could have at No. 4, depending on how the first three picks shake out. Quarterback Kyler Murray, Bosa and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams could be the first three players selected. If any of those players slip to No. 4, the Raiders could pounce.

Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen, another legitimate option for the Raiders, met with the club as one of his final pre-draft visits. Mayock watched film with Allen during his visit and broke down some of his game film.

“We watched some film together, good and bad clips of myself,” Allen said. “He taught me and showed me what I can improve on. What I do good, too.”

Many players were already back at the team’s facility when Allen visited. He said he had a memorable chat with newly acquired wide receiver Antonio Brown.

“He told me to just keep working and enjoy the moment and keep grinding until you retire from football,” Allen said.

The New York Jets likely hold the key to the Raiders’ draft. It is uncertain whether Williams will be available after the Jets’ selection at No. 3. Williams visited the Raiders three weeks ago. He said his versatility will enable him to contribute wherever he ends up.

“I showed on the film I can play every position on the defensive line at an elite level,” Williams said. “The game has turned to a real passing game and me, as a defensive lineman, I’m a pass-rusher. I go get it. But I can also stop the run at an elite level.”