Terry Williams: The Best Nose Tackle in the 2015 Draft


As we’ve been moving through the 2015 NFL Draft process, Danny Shelton from the University of Washington has pretty much gone unquestioned as the best nose tackle prospect in this year’s crop.

I’d like to challenge that perspective.

The best nose tackle prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft is Terry Williams from East Carolina University, and in terms of on field play it’s not particularly close.


Coming out of high school, Terry Williams was a 250 pound middle linebacker. Yes, a linebacker. He gained a bit over one hundred pounds in college, but he still maintained enough athleticism to be a freak athlete for a nose tackle prospect.

Terry Williams is a nightmare against interior blockers. He’s quick off the ball and shows the ability to bulldoze offensive linemen into the backfield, disrupting the rush and pass offense.

For a nose tackle, Williams is an elite athlete. Watch here as times the snap perfectly, splits the double team, and almost gets the running back for a safety. Not many 350 pound defensive tackles have this kind of rare quickness.

Williams can also chase down running backs on outside runs. He’s more than just a lane clogging defensive tackle. Here he knifes through the zone blocking scheme, swims the center, and helps bring down the running back in the backfield. It’s good to see nose tackles with the type of lateral agility as Terry Williams.

When he’s not penetrating into the backfield, he’s almost impossible to move off the line of scrimmage with single blocks. Williams is so overwhelming at the point of attack that he commands double teams, leaving open lanes for linebackers to roam free and make plays in the backfield.

Since he’s 350 pounds, Williams isn’t always going to provide a consistent pass rush — and that’s not going to be his role in the NFL. However, he is capable of collapsing the pocket and shows some pass rush moves to get to the quarterback on occasion. Here versus Virginia Tech, he hits the center with a spin move and finds his way towards the quarterback. Not many nose tackles show the kind of athleticism to pull of moves mainly used by edge rushers.


You’re probably wondering the same thing I was wondering after I finished going through Williams’ tape: if Williams is so good, why isn’t he garnering in the same early round hype as Danny Shelton?

Williams has had his issues off the field. He was suspended for in 2012 for a marijuana arrest, suspended in 2013 for a “violation of team policies”, missed part of the 2014 season for a suspension over the summer, and was suspended for the Birmingham Bowl at the end of the 2014 season. There have also been reports about him being overweight and out of shape, but that’s not uncommon for players who play around 340-350 pounds.

If Williams can stay out of trouble, and admittedly it’s a big if, a team will have a gem of a nose tackle that can be had in the later stages of the draft, or even as an undrafted free agent.

Another thing, I’m not sure how big of a concern this is (or if it’s a concern at all), but Williams gaining over a 100 pounds in his time at ECU is a little concerning to me. He was signed to be a middle linebacker, but bulked up and became a nose tackle. He could be a guy that eats himself out of the league once (if) he gets to that second contract.


Floor: Out of the League

Ceiling: Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs (High praise, I know)


3-4 Nose Tackle


Indianapolis Colts

The Colts could use a rugged nose tackle in the middle of their defense. A team led by Chuck Pagano would be a good place for him to land.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers could use a young nose tackle to push B.J. Raji and even replace him if he continues to disappoint. Again, this is a strong locker room that would be a nice fit for Williams.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals lost Dan Williams in free agency and could use a massive run-stuffer in the middle of the defense. Arizona already has one turnaround story on their roster in defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and could make a star out of Williams.


The talent says first round, but the litany of off the field issues will probably push Williams to the seventh round or even undrafted.

Next: Breshad Perriman in the top 10?