The 2023 NFL Draft class features a stacked group of defensive players, and coming off a career-best season in which he helped his school to a program-best finish, Tulane LB Dorian Williams is a name to watch as the draft approaches. While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Williams’ scouting report suggest about his NFL Draft stock?
Dorian Williams NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Tulane
- Year: Senior
You’ll be forgiven if you don’t know every player on Tulane’s roster. Let’s be fair; they aren’t putting the Green Wave on the prime-time broadcast unless something big happens. It just so happens that last year something big was going on, and at the center of one of the better defenses in college football was senior linebacker Williams.
A three-star prospect coming into college, Williams didn’t have a ton of hype as the former Indian Land High Schooler in Fort Mill, South Carolina, was the No. 47 recruit in the state and the 176th right outside linebacker prospect in the 2019 recruiting cycle.
Williams didn’t see a lot of action in 2019 and finished with just nine tackles in 11 games. With his first season under his belt, Williams began to put his name in the headlines. Williams led the AAC with 98 total tackles in his 12 games. Named to the All-AAC Second-Team, Williams averaged 8.4 tackles per game. He closed the season off incredibly against Nevada in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl with 14 total tackles (10 solo) and two tackles for loss.
2021 was another excellent season for the starting linebacker. Williams played in all 12 games and finished second on the team with 73 total tackles, culminating at the end of the season with the Phil Steele All-AAC Third-Team selection.
Heading into his senior year, Tulane had a chance to be something special, and that’s exactly what they were. Finishing with a 12-2 record, including a 46-45 victory over USC in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Tulane was among the best stories of the college football season.
At the center of the defense was Williams, who earned first-team All-AAC and piled up the stats in his 14 starts, tying for ninth in the FBS with 132 tackles while ranking third with 81 solo stops. He also posted 8.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, seven passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
He also capped off his career on a high note, as Williams was named the Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP with his 17 tackles in the win over USC. After a standout performance at the 2023 Senior Bowl and great testing in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, what does Williams’ scouting report suggest are his strengths and weaknesses as he transitions to the NFL?
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Dorian Williams
Strengths: Athletic three-down linebacker who showed tremendous progress in his game last season. Explosive, fires upfield defending the run, and is outstanding in pursuit. Remains disciplined with coverage assignments, gets depth on pass drops, and easily runs downfield with tight ends.
Fast to the sidelines, covers a lot of area on the field, and sells out on the blitz. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Possesses an explosive closing burst bearing down on the play.
Weaknesses: Has a thin frame and gets easily blocked from the action. Seems to need a free shot to the ball.
Overall: Despite being dismissed by scouts entering the season, Williams is a prospect I’ve had graded as draftable the past three seasons. He’s a classic weakside LB in a 4-3 who can cover running backs or tight ends on passing downs or make the tackle in pursuit against the run. He comes with an upside, and his game has shown consistent progress the past three seasons.
Dorian Williams Combine Measurements and Results
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 228 pounds
- Arm Length: 33 3/4″
- Hand Size: 10 1/4″
- Bench Press: DNP
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds
- Vertical Jump: 33.5″
- Broad Jump: 10’0″
Tulane LB Dorian Williams Current Draft Projection
While there is no Micah Parsons in this draft amongst LBs, the 2023 class is loaded with defensive talent. However, the bulk of that comes from the EDGE and CB groups, which will feel like they will fill over half the draft for the first few rounds.
Williams might need to wait a bit to hear his name called, but by the end of the weekend, he will certainly be on an NFL squad. Williams is currently the LB12 in the 2023 NFL Draft class, according to Tony Pauline’s Big Board, and the No. 206 overall player. With a draft grade of 3.36, Winters is slated to be picked in the sixth round.
While Williams did come in a touch undersized, that hasn’t held him back yet. With an 8.78 Relative Athletic Score (RAS), Williams has a combination of athleticism and production that could see him drafted even higher than some projections suggest.
Schematically, a WILL spot likely makes the most sense. Tulane ran a lot of different coverage concepts, and while Williams is not the most adept in coverage, that experience can aid his development. Williams will need to make an impact as a special teamer before he gets the chance to earn a primary rotational role, but he does carry some upside as a two-down LB with the right coaching and scheme.
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