Bucky Brooks is back with another set of positional rankings to get NFL fans
pissed off through the summer doldrums. This week he looks at the top 10 Blind-side Protectors in the NFL. Left tackle is one of the Redskins strengths, and Trent Williams has gotten better every year he has been in the league. He still suffers from some lapses in technique, and had several games during the season where the lapses led to pressures/sacks on RGIII. But he is arguably the most athletically gifted, young LT in the NFL today, and is on his way to being the #1 LT overall. Where does Brooks rank the Silverback?
3) Trent Williams, Washington Redskins: Williams is the most gifted offensive tackle in the game. He is not only freakishly athletic for his size (6-5, 337), but he is a nasty player with the strength, power and explosiveness to maul defenders at the point of attack. Although he can get a little sloppy with his technique at times, Williams is such an imposing physical specimen that his raw talent and ability allow him to dominate elite opponents without assistance. On the verge of his 26th birthday, Williams is also on the verge of overtaking some notable veterans for the top spot on the list.
Top 5 LT is a fair assessment for Williams. Joe Thomas(Browns) and Jason Peters(Eagles) are the only two tackles listed above him, and you can make an argument that Williams can be better than both of them...if he wants too. Peters made a solid return from his multiple Achilles injuries last year, but he is 32, so the question is how long can he maintain his high level of play. He signed a new, 5 year contract with the Eagles, so he should be set at LT for at least 2 more years until the dead money makes it easy to cut him. They drafted Lane Johnson last season as an eventual replacement for Peters, but he is facing a suspension for PEDs to start the season.
Now back to TW. Brooks labels him the most gifted offensive tackle in the game with freakish size, strength, power and explosiveness. I can't argue with any of that. One of the reasons that Mike Shanahan took Williams over Russell Okung in the 2010 draft was Williams' upside and athleticism, especially coming into a zone blocking scheme. Okung had a strength advantage, but William's quickness, footwork, and potential made him the more appealing prospect to the Redskins. This has turned out to be one of Shanahan's best decisions in the draft during his time here.
Some quick quotes from after the draft:
"Trent Williams is arguably the most athletic offensive tackle to come out in recent memory," Kiper said. "Did he always play to that level of his talent? No he did not. And I think this is a gamble on greatness that you take this early, is can you motivate him? - Mel Kiper
"I've said all along I think he's the guy that fits their zone scheme the best," Mayock said. "I love Russell Okung as a football player, but this is the most athletic offensive tackle in the draft. They run that zone scheme, that left tackle on the back side has got to get the cut-off block. He's the most athletic, explosive tackle in the draft. He's got long arms, he's a pass protector. The only knock on this kid coming out was off the field. Why was he not dominant against average players when he was dominant against excellent players? So they need more consistency of effort, but he's an immensely talented young man." - Mike Mayock
That's a pretty good assessment of Trent William's before his career started. He's an athletic freak who can let his technique go sometimes and try to rely on his athleticism. This leads to trouble when it happens, so Williams needs to be "on" all the time if he truly wants to be the elite tackle that he has the potential to be. But he is still one of the top LT's in the game right now, most people will agree with that assessment. The fact that he can perform at a high level with Tyler and the Turnstiles to his right for the last 2 years is an accomplishment. Some changes are expected on the OL this season to make his job easier, and we'll have to see if Gruden adding size to the line will make Williams' job easier.
This week we looked at 3 Top 100 lists floating around the internet, and Trent Williams was on all of them. His rankings varied depending on who was evaluating the players. Pete Prisco had him at #46 overall, Pat Kirwan ranked him #97 overall, and on the NFL.com list he came in at #60 overall. Prisco had him as the 4th best OT, adding in Dallas' Tyron Smith in front of TW. Kirwan ranks him as the 5th best, and NFL.com's list had him as the 3rd best.
How good can Trent Williams get if he commits to being the best in the league?