April 2012 only saw one player from K-State find a home through the NFL draft – and even that was a stretch, as Bryce Brown saw little playing time and quit the team his first year after transferring to Manhattan before conference play started. 2013 should be a much more profitable year for departing Wildcat players. Over the next two weeks, Jug of Snyder will be assessing the players entering 2012 with draft hopes and how they finished their careers with K-State. For our sixth installment we go to to the anchor one of the Big 12’s best defenses, defensive end Meshak Williams.
OLB Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens is a sack machine, and one of the best known pass rushers in the NFL. Meshak Williams is a poor man’s Terrell Suggs, and will be a force if the right team that plays a 3-4 scheme is smart enough to draft him. Suggest this to your friends that didn’t follow K-State this year, and they’ll simply shake their heads at the idea that an undersized defensive end for the Wildcats could be mentioned in the same breath. So safe your breath instead, and when Williams anchors a defense to the playoffs in 2016, point those disbelieving fans over to JugOfSnyder.com, where we will calmly be waiting.
K-State fans remember Suggs from the 2002 Holiday Bowl against Arizona State, when he harassed Ell Roberson all night long and won the defensive MVP award despite the Sun Devils yielding 34 points to the Wildcats in a loss. The measurements are similar: both Suggs and Williams stand at six foot, three inches. Williams currently plays at 245, and would likely add another 15 pounds at the next level, putting his playing weight at 260 lbs. Suggs plays at 260. Despite being drafted 10th overall, Suggs faced several questions about his ‘tweener’ size – too big and slow to play linebacker, but not nearly big enough to line up at defensive end. Williams faces the same questions.
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The Jug doesn’t merely project Meshak Williams to be the second coming of Suggs merely because they’re the same height and Suggs was a questionable pick at number ten before transforming into a consistent Pro Bowler. Williams has a quicker 40 time (4.74) than Suggs (4.84), which allays any concerns about speed. His on-field production spoke for itself. He was bright spot for the defense during K-State’s loss in the Fiesta Bowl, recording one sack to go along with nine tackles. He finished first in the conference with 10.5 sacks overall while forcing three fumbles. His domination led to being selected to the All-Big 12 first team, and was selected as the league’s defensive lineman of the year. He also recorded a blocked field goal during his senior season.
Williams has not received a significant amount of attention from the media regarding his potential on the next level. CBSSports.com ranked him No. 400 overall and the 37th-best defensive end in November (approximately 250 players are selected over the course of the draft’s seven rounds). However, there is no doubt Williams will have his named called to the podium in April. NFLdraftscout.com has since listed him as the number 15 OLB after he closed the season as strongly as he started. The OLB ranking as recognizes the potential for his position switch. However, Williams is very quick and will perform better than his peers at the three cone drill and other combine exercises. Although the national media outlets have a difficult time feting this out on tape during the regular season, his tangibles will allow Williams’ stock to rise when measured against the rest of the draft class.
As far as skill is concerned, Meshak Williams plays with excellent leverage and knows how to use his hands. He regularly lined up against tackles weighing 50 or more pounds heavier, and would proceed to blow them up while harassing quarterbacks into bad throws that landed in the arms of Nigel Malone, Ty Zimmerman, and Allen Chapman (K-State’s pass rush was a significant contributor to the high number of interceptions the team pulled down). He’s the type of player that teams like the Patriots love, and it would be no surprise if Bill Belichick conducts another of his hallmark trades back to make Williams a denizen of Boston in 2013. And with that, the Jug makes the fearless prediction that Meshak Williams will play in the Patriots’ 3-4 next year after going in the fifth round of the NFL draft. With New England’s two-gap system that requires its defensive linemen to occupy the offensive line, Williams will be free to roam in the backfield and should acquire enough sacks to earn a Pro Bowl invitation sometime during his first four years with the team.