Carolina Panthers‘ tight end Brandon Williams is a sleeping giant that is on the verge of being woken up. Physically gifted, yet unable to make a splash big enough to earn him regular season playing time, Williams looks ready to erupt in 2014.
The dominating physique that embodies Brandon Williams’ 6’4″, 250-pound frame is the first feature that meets the eye.
“Swole Bones” is a nickname given to the former Oregon Duck tight end by Cam Newton, and it’s very fitting for a man that exhibits a muscular frame as strong as Williams. A former basketball standout that only played one year of football at the University of Oregon, Williams has shown flashes of athleticism, drive and a work ethic that has had coaches waiting for this year to arrive.
Brandon Williams looks like a different player thus far in Training Camp, as well as the first two preseason games. The Panthers’ shift towards multi-TE looks mean more playing time for the second-year player. Along with Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson, this is the prototypical TE for the Air Coryell system.
In the first preseason game against Buffalo, Williams was targeted six times and pulled in three receptions, for 50 yards and a touchdown. The big man only had one catch in Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs, but it gaped the defense for 31 yards. He also had a ball sail just off his fingertips in the back of the end zone.
The 26-year old tight end is battling with veteran Ed Dickson for the TE2 spot, and if the former continues to play with the fire he has been, he will eventually unseat Dickson.
The physical attributes are there. The athleticism is there. The all-to-familiar background of being a former basketball player that the new breed of tight ends possess, is there. After being diagnosed with a spinal condition that cut his collegiate career short, Williams’ competitive nature is what got him to this point in his journey.
Williams has always been a team-first player grinding out wherever the team needs him. Carolina has been toting the potential of this kid for two years and it looks like his hard work is beginning to show fruitful returns.
When you watch Williams line up and push off of the line, you see a player that wants it. With Greg Olsen out of the lineup last night, Williams made the most of it. He found openings in the zone to sit down in and made himself a big target a few times. The stat sheet might not reflect Williams’ contributions, but the game tape certainly will. Continuing to get open and being precise with his route running, coaches and Newton will look to him more often.
Once the ball is in his hands, he is a force to bring down. Utilizing Williams off of the weakside in drag routes and post routes will allow the hulking receiver to get a head of steam going. Once in motion, it’s going to take a pretty stout defender to get in the way of Williams.
In addition to his size, Brandon Williams also runs an agile 4.56 40-time. This wrinkle of speed adds a dimension to his game that garners respect.
Brandon Williams has been talked about with terms like “upside” and “ceiling” for long enough. Now is the time that the young tight end realizes his potential. Newton can never have enough weapons to look for, and a player of Williams’ ilk is exactly what OC Mike Shula and the Panthers need.