Avery Williamson - Inside Linebacker
Avery Williamson is a few days away from realizing a life long dream to be an NFL football player. As Big Blue Nation waits to celebrate with Williamson, we look back at his career and where his potential in the NFL lies.
Williamson attended high school in Tennessee at Milan High. While there, he led Milan to consecutive 14-1 seasons with the only losses coming in the state championship to perennial power Alcoa (home of Randall Cobb). After his senior season, he was tabbed first team all state and the West Tennessee player of the year by the Jackson Sun.
Williamson came to Kentucky and was a contributor from day one as he got into every game as a freshman back up providing much needed depth. As a sophomore, he again played in every game tallying 49 tackles while not starting a single game and having multiple tackles in every game of the year.
Williamson became a starter during his junior year and turned heads as he racked up 135 tackles, which was 2nd best in the SEC and 7th best nationally. During that season, he also had a career game vs. Vanderbilt where he tallied TWENTY tackles. By his senior year, the word was out on Williamson and teams avoided him and/or double-teamed him much more frequently. Despite the extra attention, he still totaled over 100 tackles on the season.
After the season, Williamson got to work with UK high performance coach Erik Korem to get faster. Apparently, it paid off as Williamson was above a 4.8 before the combine but ran an unofficial 4.59, good for second best of all linebackers. Williamson went on to post an official 4.66, which was good enough for eighth best of all inside linebackers. Williamson also bench pressed 225 lbs. twenty five times, which was his personal goal. The consensus was Williamson enhanced his draft stock significantly at the combine and as they like to say; "made some money."
The majority of services opinion is that he will go somewhere in the 5th or 6th round and a very interesting possibility for Williamson could be coming in the form of the Denver Broncos according to Woody Paige.
They also like linebackers Preston brown and Avery Williamson from Louisville and Kentucky. They've had success with linebackers from ky— Woody Paige (@woodypaige) May 4, 2014
The Broncos already boast several former UK contributors in Jacob Tamme, Wesley Woodyard, and Danny Trevathan. Recently the broncos struck gold with UK standout Danny Trevathan when they drafted him in the sixth round. Maybe they see a repeat in Williamson.
The scouting report on Williamson is generally similar to what NFL.com has posted about him:
STRENGTHS Good size. Plays with a good, wide base. Very productive tackler. Outstanding personal and football character -- works hard, is accountable and commands respect. Smart, understands the game and can make all the calls and on-field adjustments.
WEAKNESSES Average athletic ability and foot quickness -- is a step late to the perimeter. Struggles to disengage from blockers once he is locked up. Limited cover range and reactions -- is late to recognize and gets sucked up by playaction. Average functional strength. Is not a take-on thumper. His 30 1/2-inch vertical was worst among middle linebackers at the combine.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 5-6
BOTTOM LINE A functional, between-the-tackles run stopper with a chance to make it on the inside of a 3-4 defense where he can patrol the middle. Can be targeted in coverage and will need to make a mark on special teams to stick.
They also grade him out as a 5.27 and as far as their scale goes, that puts him at being on an NFL roster as a backup and special teams player. A grade of 5.5 would be described as chance to be an NFL starter. When you are talking about the percentage of people who actually make a roster, it is pretty high praise to say he is potentially a fringe starter.
I think they get it right for the most part, although it is tough to take off my blue goggles and agree. The only place I think Williamson may have an argument would be in his foot speed. Cutting more than two-tenths of a second off his forty time while increasing his strength is only going to lead to faster foot speed and quickness. I also believe Williamson has a better than thought chance of being that take-on thumper in the league.
As we wait with Avery to celebrate his success, a few things about Williamson you may not know:
- As a kid, he did not watch enough football to have an idol so he pretended he was himself in the NFL
- His hidden talent - Fishing
- Something you may not know about him; He can cook a great omelet