With Ron Rivera returning to the Carolina Panthers it becomes a little easier to try and work out what the team will do in April's draft. We know what Rivera values in a player -- high motor, excellent work ethic, and if possible, a mean streak. There just so happens to be a defensive tackle on the board with all these characteristic, and this was the reason that I, and many others mocked him to Carolina last week.
Coming out with their latest mock draft, Matthew Fairburn of 'Mocking the Draft' is continuing the trend:
14. Carolina Panthers - Jesse Williams, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
The Panthers definitely need an upgrade at defensive tackle. Despite an improvement down the stretch, the Panthers struggled to stop the run this season. Jesse Williams is a monster on the inside, who holds the point of attack as well as any player in the draft.
This isn't just because he's Australian -- it's because it makes sense. I'm not the only one who sees the overwhelming perfect fit of Jesse Williams to Carolina, Josh Norris of Rotoworld feels the same way. The Carolina Panthers' defensive ends are coming into their own, but a strong force in the middle to command a double could be what takes an excellent defensive line, and propels them into shades of 2003 when Peppers and Ruckers wreaked havoc because of Kris Jenkins in the middle.
Mocking the Draft also did an excellent scouting report on Jesse Williams, and this jumped out at me:
The first thing that jumps off the screen when watching Williams is that he plays with excellent pad level. Despite his height, Williams always seems to get lower than his opponent, allowing him to anchor the middle of the defensive line and making him tough to drive off the ball. Williams is constantly demanding double teams inside and does a terrific job eating up blockers. He does an excellent job of shedding blocks, making him equally effective in the ground game and when rushing the passer.
It probably hasn't hurt to have the opportunity to work against Chance Warmack in practice either. While it's almost certain that Williams wont end up in Carolina because everyone is mocking him there, at least I can dream -- for another three months.