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Williams fits what Shanahan wants

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted April 22, 2010 @ 8:20 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

I have to admit, I chuckled a minute when I heard NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora say the Redskins were going to take FS Eric Berry.

I knew it was a smokescreen, never going to happen, although I must also admit I checked around to make sure it was a smokescreen.

But I felt I had a pretty good pulse on what the Skins were doing. They have been focusing in on Williams for a few weeks now, just as everyone — including myself in the PFW editors’ mock draft (sorry for the subterfuge) a few days ago — was saying Russell Okung’s name.

Williams is a classic fit for a Mike Shanahan zone offense. Williams has the feet and the lateral ability to move well to be a perfect fit in this kind of system. Typically you think of smaller offensive linemen for this kind of offense, and it doesn’t always require the most talented guys. Heck, in Denver, Shanahan lived with Matt Lepsis for a few years at left tackle.

But Williams has nastiness and size and quickness. He has the traits — more than Okung — to fit this system ideally.

Now, and it’s a big now, will he work? Does he want to be great? Those are the questions Williams told me NFL decision makers most wanted to know. He described his personality as “laid back,” and others would call him “passive” and perhaps not with the temperament of a grinder. Williams admitted to not being a gym rat early in his career, so he might have to be taught a pro work ethic.

But he has the physical skills to be great, and when he’s out there on the field, Williams does play with fire. Really, that’s what it boils down to: Will he be great off the field, too?

The Redskins will find out quickly. Chris Samuels is gone, and Williams likely will be handed the OLT spot from Day One. Congrats on being drafted fourth. But now you're in the fire, kid. Let's see how great you really can be.

For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.

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