Tre Williams, Arkansas DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Arkansas DE Tre Williams will have to answer for his off-field record, but he has an NFL Draft scouting report worthy of consideration.

We all know the 2022 NFL Draft‘s edge rusher group is deep. But just how far does that depth go? We can answer that by examining the NFL Draft scouting report of Arkansas DE Tre Williams. Williams has fallen under the radar as of late, but he’s just another name to know in this cycle.

Tre Williams NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive End
  • School: Arkansas
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 6’4 3/8″
  • Weight: 252 pounds
  • Wingspan: 81 5/8″
  • Length: 33 7/8″
  • Hand: 9 4/8″

Tre Williams’ Scouting Report

In a league where quick pressure is key to making quarterbacks and offensive coordinators uncomfortable, it’s almost impossible to succeed without the necessary athletic traits. Non-elite athletes who blossom into quality starters are becoming more and more uncommon. Thus, athleticism is one of the first things to look for when scouting EDGE talent. And Williams no doubt checks that box.

There’s a lot more that goes into playing the edge rusher position, of course. But simply having the physical traits can give you the potential for an increased role down the line. With that said, how does Williams’ athletic profile stack up, and what does he need to do to complete his game?

Williams’ athletic profile

Williams passes the eye test on film. He’s listed at around 6’4″, 252 pounds, with arms close to 34 inches long — a well-above-average figure. On top of his size and long frame, Williams also has great athleticism. The Arkansas DE sports an explosive first step and carries that explosiveness upfield to the apex. He pressures tackles quickly with long, fast strides. And with his burst, he can also shoot gaps in the running game.

On top of his burst, Williams has definite lateral agility and twitch. He can dodge extensions and surge inside. With his lateral twitch and suddenness, he generates easy short-range momentum. Williams doesn’t need much space to build speed, and once he’s done so, his long arms provide a decent conduit for power generation.

Going further, Williams has surprising bend capacity for his size. He has above-average ankle flexion, which he can use to pinch the corner and reduce his surface area while keeping speed. He also uses his smooth torso flexibility to shrink himself and sneak under the apex. Additionally, Williams executes quick ghost moves to stay clean.

Execution beyond the physical traits

There are many promising flashes on Williams’ tape. The Arkansas DE’s hands can be heavy and forceful. Williams has also shown to target and wrench down anchors with his length and upper body torque.

At the apex, Williams flashes the ability to use rip combos and free himself. If he doesn’t break free right away, he can be persistent on his second attempts. His lateral athleticism makes him difficult to handle.

Beyond his pass-rushing ability, Williams also shows glimpses of promise in run defense. He has the physical tools — length, frame density, and balance — to effectively set the edge. Even with his tall frame, he’s able to shoot his pads into contact and attain superior leverage. Additionally, with his twitch, burst, and length, Williams can knife through gaps and invade the backfield.

Williams brings solid effort in pursuit and can cover good amounts of ground with his long strides and athleticism.

Areas for improvement

Williams is still a work in progress with his hand usage. The Arkansas DE doesn’t consistently capitalize at the apex, and he can more often supplement his athleticism with hands. Williams doesn’t always come with a precise pass-rushing plan, and he often tries to win on traits. Additionally, his hands don’t always strike cleanly or directly when executing moves.

Williams can’t always sustain acceleration through his rushes or roll his hips around the corner. At times, his momentum stalls, and he gets locked up at the apex. In these moments, Williams sometimes becomes sloppy and struggles to break free. He also lacks elite play strength and can be controlled by larger linemen. Moreover, when seeking depth on the edge, Williams sometimes incorrectly times his inside moves.

In run defense, Williams can improve as well. The Arkansas DE frequently gives up too much surface area, and he’s not always controlled, nor does he engage ball carriers consistently. He sometimes plays with his pads too high and can be easily moved in those cases. He also can appear lackadaisical when shooting his arms to anchor. When reading option plays, Williams can be indecisive. He sometimes freezes up and loses positioning.

Williams’ 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

There’s always a market for raw traits in the NFL — Williams has those. He may not have elite explosiveness or speed. But for his size, he certainly has a great mix of burst and agility at his disposal. On top of that, his bend capacity can be awe-inspiring. There’s clearly a lot to work with.

The problem is, six years into a career as an SEC defensive end, Williams still hasn’t quite put it together from a hand-usage perspective. He still relies primarily on his traits, and although he flashes the ability to use his hands in conjunction with his athleticism, he’ll need much more consistency at the next level. The same goes for his run defense, where Williams can be streaky.

Nevertheless, while he’s an older prospect behind the developmental curve, Williams checks most of the physical boxes you look for on the edge. While he may not have high-level play strength at this point, he has good explosiveness, agility, bend capacity and flexibility, and speed-to-power capacity with his length.

Williams will need to keep refining his timing, hand usage, and coordination as a pass rusher. A couple of red flags also complicate his projection, as we’ll discuss below. But if his character checks out, the Arkansas DE is worth a mid-to-late Day 3 selection as a high-upside developmental prospect, and he could be a rotational spark plug at some point in Year 1.

Williams’ Player Profile

Williams’ journey to the NFL started all the way back in 2016 when he was a three-star recruit from Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri. He signed with his local Missouri Tigers midway through 2015 and enrolled there the following offseason. He’d redshirt his first season to get his weight up, but Williams came back in 2017 and earned a long-lasting role on the defense.

Williams never had a breakout year with the Tigers, but he was a steady producer on the defensive line. Over a four-year span from 2017 to 2020, Williams piled up 83 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. After the 2020 season, Williams entered the portal as a grad transfer, first announcing Houston as his transfer destination. But just a few months later, he’d change his decision, setting his sights on the University of Arkansas.

Williams’ career at Arkansas

Staying in the SEC, the pressure was on Williams to deliver in his final collegiate season, and he did that, turning in his best campaign yet. Williams quickly entered the starting lineup for the Razorbacks and established himself as an impactful pass-rushing presence.

Over the course of the season, Williams put up 28 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks — all career-high figures for the Arkansas DE.

Williams’ NFL Draft ascension

NFL teams will have to clear Williams off the field before he’s considered a draftable prospect. He recently had a DWI incident this past December, which resulted in him not playing the Outback Bowl against Penn State. That incident, however, is relatively minor compared to the one that occurred at Missouri in December 2018.

At Missouri, Williams was arrested on suspicion of second-degree domestic assault, after he and his girlfriend had an altercation while driving. He was indefinitely suspended and sat out the team’s 2018 bowl game. Later, in July 2019, he was reinstated after pleading to a reduced sentence. But the incident remains a disturbing moment in Williams’ off-field history.

Teams had a chance to speak with Williams at the NFLPA Bowl, but there’s still the possibility he goes undrafted with the red flags on his record. Williams, 24, will have to prove he’s matured (and that he is still maturing). If those assertions prove true, and if a team is willing to take a chance on him, he could deliver on that chance down the line with his physical traits.

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Tre’ Williams

Positives: Undersized college pass rusher who gets the most from his ability. Relentless, plays with excellent pad level, and rarely gets knocked off his feet. Breaks down well, displays quickness when changing direction, and shows the ability to immediately alter his angle of attack.

Possesses a variety of moves working to get off blocks. Effective out of a three-point stance as well as standing over tackle, plays faster than his 40 time, and shows tremendous edge speed. Resilient, stays with the action, and plays with outstanding balance. Attracts a lot of double-team blocks and opens up opportunities for his teammates.

Negatives: Lacks bulk and is easily disrupted from his angle of attack. Tested poorly at the Combine and lacks pursuit speed for an undersized defensive end.

Analysis: Williams is a tall, fluid pass-rush specialist who consistently disrupts the action behind the line of scrimmage. He lacks great upside but has a polished game. Williams will be a solid Day 3 pick who will line up on passing downs in the NFL.

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