With the news of Offensive Tackle Michael Oher failing his physical and subsequently being cut from the Carolina Panthers, the team’s 4th round selection (102nd overall) Daryl Williams can now be penciled into the starting lineup. Carolina’s pass protection and offensive tackle play has been shaky for several seasons now and the team hopes that the mid-round selection can fortify the right side.
With Carolina’s renewed investments in the running game, Williams figures to be a positive impact. A quick look back at his foundation from 2015:
The good news for Carolina fans? I felt Williams was a fine prospect with notable ability to play at a high level in the proper scheme.
Williams’ strength coming out of college lied in his ability to uproot defenders and generate push in the ground game. Playing next to fellow “people mover” Trai Turner, Williams will continue to provide push at the NFL level. The team was able to sample Williams’ play in 2016 and unsurprisingly found him to be a good influence on the run (Pro Football Focus scored him with a 74.0 score in run blocking for the season).
Williams’ weakness is one Panthers fans will be familiar with: he’s heavy footed in pass protection and as a result can be susceptible to conceding edge pressure. His pass block efficiency according to Pro Football Focus was rated as a median score in 2016; he was average at best.
If Williams can shore up his pass protection efforts in 2017, his impact on the team will be one of the more noticeable. Williams’ transition to this point in the NFL is a good case of winning in the same ways. I would certainly not expect Williams to suddenly become a top end pass protector; but small adjustments and technical changes could unlock his path to being a reliable long term starter.