NFL Draft Defensive Line Rankings: No. 4 – Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech

Milton Williams pairs outstanding production with almost off-the-charts athleticism.
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The Green Bay Packers’ defensive line simply was not good enough in 2020. Not even close. In 2019, Kenny Clark made the Pro Bowl following a season highlighted by six sacks, nine tackles for losses and seven quarterback hits. In 2020, Clark, Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster combined for five sacks, five tackles for losses and 10 quarterback hits.

According to Pro Football Focus, Clark had 62 quarterback pressures in 2019. All nine defensive linemen to get playing time in 2020 recorded 77 pressures, led by Clark plunging to 28. Kingsley Keke showed some promise but all four sacks, all three tackles for losses and half of his eight quarterback hits came in two games. Montravius Adams, a third-round flop, signed with New England in free agency. With that, the Packers could use another impact defensive lineman. Unfortunately, it is a paper-thin draft class.

Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams is our No. 4-ranked defensive lineman.

Dynamite comes in small packages.

Even if “small” means 284 pounds.

Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams, who has 10 sacks in 23 games his final two seasons, had an explosive and, perhaps, lucrative pro day workout. He ran his 40 in 4.63 seconds, his 20-yard shuttle in 4.33 seconds and his three-cone drill in 6.96 seconds. Plus, he put up 34 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

The shuttle and three-cone “really show off my quickness that I have. Any of doubts that I can’t bend that people were coming out of nowhere with, I put that to bed today,” Williams said afterward. “I feel like I helped myself a lot today. That was part of my decision of coming out early anyway because I knew the work that I would put in.”

Relative Athletic Score is a 0-to-10 measurement of a prospect’s athleticism. Williams’ RAS was 9.96, second-best in the draft class among defensive linemen.

“I knew that I was going to be the fastest defensive tackle in this draft class, no question about it,” he said. “No defensive tackle anywhere was going to run faster than me. I broke the record three weeks ago and I broke it again today. That’s how confident I am in my work ethic and I put that on display today.”

Athleticism without performance is a lot like eating a Twinkie – perhaps delicious but full of empty calories. Williams’ athleticism matched the performance of the first-team all-Conference-USA selection.

A former two-star recruit, Williams let his play do the talking.

“Milton is not a man of many words,” Tech coach Skip Holtz told The News Star. “But when he speaks, everybody listens. He is a leader, I think he’s viewed as a leader. His leadership is, ‘Just follow me.’ It’s easy when it’s one of your best players, and you can say to a young player, ‘Why don’t you work more like Milt? Why aren’t you more like him?’ That’s leadership. A lot of guys, you don’t want them paying attention to the guy in front of them, you want them to do more than him. But Milton just leads by example.”

Measureables: 6-foot-3, 284 pounds, 31 1/2-inch arms, 4.63 40, 4.33 shuttle, 34 bench-press reps.

Stats and accolades: In two seasons as a starter, Williams tallied 10 sacks and 19 tackles for losses. With his lack of length, he batted down only one pass. Pro Football Focus credited him with 30 pressures in his 10 games in 2020, when he was first-team all-conference.

NFL Draft Bible says: Aligning at defensive end in their three-man front, he shows NFL athleticism with his get-off and flexibility, even flashing the ability to win on an outside track. Putting his processing on display, Williams shows great timing to disengage and make tackles in the run game. His pad level is low for the most part, allowing him to win the leverage battle at the point of attack and uproot blockers. In the zone running game, he moves well laterally thanks to his athleticism and balance. When getting his hands inside, he can convert his get-off into power. Arriving at extension is crucial as he is unable to bench press opponents out of his frame and extend. Williams possesses exciting developmental traits such as athleticism and upper-body strength that could help him develop into a starter.

About This Series

Packer Central is introducing you to the top prospects, both on and off the field, in this year’s NFL Draft. The series is starting with the top five at each position.

DT1: Alabama's Christian Barmore

DT2: Washington's Levi Onwuzurike

DT3: UCLA's Osa Odighizuwa

DT4: Louisiana Tech's Milton Williams

DT5: Iowa's Dayvion Nixon

OT1: Oregon's Penei Sewell

OT2: Northwestern Rashawn Slater

OT3: Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw

OT4: Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins

OT5: Texas' Samuel Cosmi

OG1: USC's Alijah Vera-Tucker

OG2: Ohio State's Wyatt Davis

OG3: Tennessee's Trey Smith

OG4: Alabama's Alex Leatherwood

OG5: Illinois' Kendrick Green

OC1: Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey

OC2: UW-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz

OC3: Ohio State’s Josh Myers

OC4: Alabama’s Landon Dickerson

OC5: Pittsburgh’s Jimmy Morrissey

WR1: LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase

WR2: Alabama’s DeVonta Smith

WR3: Florida’s Kadarius Toney

WR4: Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman

WR5: LSU’s Terrace Marshall

RB1: Alabama’s Najee Harris

RB2: Clemson’s Travis Etienne

RB3: North Carolina’s Javonte Williams

RB4: Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell

RB5: North Carolina’s Michael Carter

QB1: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence

QB2: Ohio State’s Justin Fields

QB3: BYU’s Zach Wilson

QB4: North Dakota State’s Trey Lance

QB5: Alabama’s Mac Jones