Tre’ Williams came out of Mobile’s St. Paul’s Episcopal as a consensus five-star prospect, and one of the two jewels (along with Roc Thomas) of Gus Malzahn’s first full recruiting class at Auburn.
Williams headlined the defensive side of the group, and he’d live up to the billing, finishing his career as a 2nd Team All-SEC performer, notching 188 tackles over a four-year career on the Plains. Now, he leaves the rock solid linebacker group to head to the NFL.
That said, Williams’ NFL destiny doesn’t shine as brightly as other linebackers in this draft.
In an inside linebacker class that doesn’t boast many true can’t-miss prospects, Williams is a middle of the pack kind of guy, mainly due to his lack of size and limited mobility to move across the entirety of the field.
What Williams does have is the tenacity to play with the same top-level intensity on every play. He’s not going to loaf on one play or another, and he’s not going to give excuses. For much of this past season, Williams played with a shoulder injury that was suffered in the Missouri game, and he was lost for the second half of the SEC Championship with injury as well. However, he was one of the solid pieces of Auburn’s linebacker corps all season long.
Williams also has the proper mindset to stuff the middle and make the routine tackles. He’s not shy about sticking his nose into the heavy business in the interior of the line, and he’s going to be able to make a form tackle most of the time. Getting into the middle like that causes him to get banged around, and at a bit of an undersized guy, he’s had some lingering shoulder problems.
Other issues that the NFL wants to see improve include upgraded mobility and the ability to identify the correct play a little quicker. Williams doesn’t have the athleticism and pursuit angle combination to be able to deal with the increased speed in the pros, and with that, his draft prospects are limited.
NFL.com has Williams rated as the 20th-best inside linebacker , which basically pegs him as a priority free agent at the moment. However, he’s also pegged as a great possibility to find time as a special teams guy that can end up lasting in the league for years.
Wherever Williams goes in the upcoming draft/aftermath, we’ll be pulling for him to make an impact. Auburn’s had a solid history of linebackers making noise in the league, including so-called undersized guys like Josh Bynes in the past.