As soon as the New York Giants selected LB Tae Crowder with the 255th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft it opened up the door for teams to go after whatever players were still left on the open market. While most of the undrafted free agent players will be nothing more than depth pieces for their teams in training camp, some have the ability to make a team on the active roster or practice squad. The Chiefs wasted little time in bringing Darryl Williams, who was the top undrafted center on the board at the time.
The Chiefs gave Williams a big contract for UDFA standards and it is apparent that they want to give him a shot to compete, given the performance of the interior offensive line this past season.
Williams is built like a prototypical NFL center, at 6-foot-3 305 pounds he fits the bill. His body will allow him to be more suited to play center but in his time at Mississippi State he started 25 games at LG but took over as the center in 2019. This is the kind of versatility that Andy Reid and the rest of the Chiefs coaching staff like to see out of an offensive linemen, especially one that can play all the positions along he interior.
My initial draft grade for Williams was a 75 and I had him penciled in as a 5th round pick, so the fact that he was still around for the Chiefs after the draft was somewhat surprising. While he did fall, Centers were not in as high of demand this draft class, but he can still be a very good pickup for the Chiefs.
Below I have listed my initial review of how Williams plays and what I thought were the strengths and weaknesses of his game.
-Mental Processing: B
-Competitive Toughness: B
-Play Speed: C
-Play Strength: B
-Pass Blocking: C
-Run Blocking: B
-Hand Usage: A
Pros: Has great pop in his hands. Can shock defenders back in the pass and run game. Has good timing in the pass game and good timing to get off of double team blocks. Keeps his pads low in the run game.
Cons: Can struggle at times to keep his feet screwed into the ground in pass protection. He can be driven back. Only average strength. Frame still needs development. Struggles to bend at the hips.
After watching the tape for a second time I will stick by my initial analysis but I would say I found that his play strength is better than I thought it was, as well as his mental processing. One thing that all these clips have in common is he has to make a quick decision or read on a play which he does well but he also seems to have a great understanding of the offense he plays in.
Another big strength in his game is his violent hands. He likes to lock on and drive or throw the guy he is blocking around. He puts some pop in his punches and does a good job strike and lock in pass protection, and in the run game strike and drive.
As for the negative side of Williams game, it is still similar to the initial review. He can play with high pads, which is due to him having tight hips and not the best flexibility in the knees or ankles. This also limits his lateral mobility significantly which can hurt him when picking up blitzes or moving down the line. His punch is powerful but sometimes he can miss, so his hand framing will need to be honed in a little better.
An undrafted rookie free agent may feel like a long shot on many rosters but it’s not so crazy in Kansas City. The Super Bowl Champions have had their fair share undrafted players make contributions to the team. We haven’t seen many along the offensive line who have made it with the undrafted tag but that could all change this year. With the guaranteed money, football IQ, and nasty play it seems the Chiefs want him to come in and compete for a job right away. It will more than likely not be for a starting spot but for a depth spot. That being said a depth spot can turn into a starting spot in a hurry, especially in the NFL. Williams will have a long road to take but his mentality and the way he plays the game will help him at the very least go the distance.