Here's a player that you might not have heard of, but the St. Louis Rams have shown some interest in – Alabama tight end Michael Williams. Unless you watched the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago, Williams name most likely flew through one ear and out the other. But during that week, Williams showed consistent blocking and some receiving ability, even beating USC safety T.J. Mcdonald for a touchdown.
But even then, I wouldn't have imagined the Rams would be interested in him If I hadn't read these tweets prior to the Senior bowl.
@nfldraftmonster @lannyosu I've heard the same thing about Williams & the #Rams— T. Shields, Esq.(@Shields3L) January 14, 2013
Tim (Rams Herd) and Ben (NFL Draft guru, also on the last episode of Turf Show Radio) mentioned the Rams had interest in Williams, and those two guys wouldn't just spread rumors. But honestly, we don't know how much Rams GM Les Snead likes Williams.
But he's an interesting prospect. He's a blocking tight end, who can kind of catch. The stats on Williams aren't eye popping; he's never went for more than 200 yards in a season, but the Rams wouldn't want Williams for his receiving ability. If the Rams drafted Williams, he would be a good fit at H back, doing the dirty little things (blocking) that Lance Kendricks does for the team.
Here's a couple quotes from a scouting report on him over at Walter Football:
Williams is quicker and more athletic than people realize for the passing game. He can get open running routes and has the potential to be a good red-zone weapon. Williams doesn't project to ever being a prolific pass-receiving tight end in the NFL, but he could be a decent contributor as part of a tight end stable.
Even though he doesn't have big production as a receiver, NFL tight end coaches and offensive coordinators are going to like what they see of Williams. Every team in the NFL is looking for blocking tight ends that can play in the base offense along with short yardage situations. Williams projects to being an excellent blocking tight end for the next level. He also has special teams skills to contribute on fourth downs as part of return units.
And here's Eric Galko from Optimum Scouting on Williams prior to the BCS National Championship:
In my preseason evaluations, I was highly unimpressed with Michael Williams lack of receiving skills and perceived underachieving as a blocker. After the first few games of the 2012 season, my tune quickly changed, as I saw Williams develop into a consistently active, polished and occasionally dominant blocker. Equally effective in pass protection or run blocking, in a variety of traditional tight end, wing tight end and H-Back alignments, Williams has learned to play with better base and overall hand usage at the point of attack. Looking like an extra tackle at times when asked to block playside on power-o or zone stretch runs, Williams has done a tremendous job of either sealing or kicking out the defensive end, swiveling his hips into position after a strong initial punch. Improvements with Williams’ game don’t stop there, however, as he’s also taken strides as a route runner and pass catcher. Most effective when asked to delay release, Williams sells his pass set by engaging the defender, only to shed to either side and breaking to the flats.
Those two scouting reports describe what I saw from him in the Senior Bowl. He's a really good blocker, and while he won't be a great receiving option, he will be a good short yardage option. If the Rams are really high on him, I have no issue with Lance Kendricks being the primary TE and Williams handling the dirty work and occasionally grabbing a couple of catches.
In the draft, he will most likely be drafted between the 4th and 5th rounds. If the Rams are as high on him as it sounds like, I could see him being drafted in the 4th round.