Friday, February 11, 2011

Player Profile: Leon Williams

Leon Williams
Position: Inside Linebacker
Size: 6'2, 250
Age: 27, 7/30/83
College: Miami
Drafted: Round 4, #110 - 2006
Experience: 5 Seasons

Salary History and Contract Status : Leon Williams makes the veteran's minimum for a 5th year veteran in 2010.

2006 Draft Profile From OurLads: 11th- ranked OLB) Leon Williams - Miami - 6'3 - 245 - 4.56. Started six games. Miami rotates their linebackers. Has the ability to be the highest drafted player coming out of the Las Vegas Classic. A big hitter with sideline to sideline range. Has some hip stiffness in his pass drops. Question coverage awareness. Drives through the ball carrier on contact. Plays assignment football and fills the running lanes or runs man-to-man with the tight end. Good athlete with lateral quickness. Gets through traffic effortlessly and can make the open field tackle. Plays with good knee bend. Can improve his upper body with playing strength. Will contribute on special teams. Good arm length to ward off low blocks. Has some upper body stiffness. Fourth/Fifth Round.

Pre-2010: Williams spent the first 4 seasons of his career with the Cleveland Browns who selected him in the 4th round of the 2006 Draft. He had 12 starts in his first 2 seasons for Cleveland under Romeo Crennel, but was unable to hold his spot. In 2008, he played far less and was essentially a special teams contributor, and in 2009 he did not make the Browns out of training camp under new coach Eric Mangini. So, to stay in football, he played a season with the New York Sentinels in the United Football League under coach Ted Cottrell in which the lost all 6 games. After that season, the Cowboys - intrigued by his athletic tools as a MLB that can run a 4.56 is exceedingly rare - signed him in January of 2010.

2010:In '10, Leon Williams played sparingly and that is partly due to the fact that his position never really suffered an injury to a starter. When Keith Brooking and Bradie James make 32 of 32 starts and when you are trying to give any free downs to Sean Lee, then there is little or no time to evaluate Leon Williams. Keep in mind that he was not the 4th MLB until Jason Williams was released on November 2. Therefore, to offer any sort of rating of his play would be foolish on a number of levels. 23 snaps is his entire workload this season, and if you consider his 4 healthy scratches and a 5th game when the team moved him to injured reserve in the final week of the season to accommodate the signing of kicker Kris Brown. He did show the ability to play fairly well on all 4 special teams which is absolutely mandatory of any depth LB in the NFL. At this point, that will be the key to his career continuing.

2011 Analysis:It is a real mystery to consider what the Cowboys have for depth at certain spots of interest on this team. Linebacker is one of them. They continue to flirt with disaster because if health issues were to strike this team, nobody inside the organization is arguing that the team is prepared. With only Sean Lee and Victor Butler having any experience at all, it is difficult to distinguish one Williams from another. Jason Williams (3rd round pick, 2009) is gone. Brandon Williams and Leon Williams will have to continue to demonstrate an ability to be effective in special teams play because there is little-to-no indication that the Cowboys believe that Leon is a player that will help their defense. He continues to be an intriguing player from a tools standpoint, but to offer anything beyond that would be pure speculation and if a player has not broken out by the age of 27, chances are he is what he is. Look for the Cowboys to attempt to find young, developmental prospects for roster spots like this one during the offseason.

Previous Profiles:
Doug Free
Marc Colombo
Sam Young
Alex Barron
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Victor Butler
Brandon Williams
Jason Witten
Martellus Bennett
John Phillips
Bradie James
Keith Brooking
Sean Lee

No comments: