OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In an attempt to beef up their interior defensive line, the Ravens used their third-round pick to select nose tackle Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern State.
Playing at a Division II school, Williams was a three-time All-American and has a combination of strength and agility not typically seen at his position. At 6-foot-1 and 335 pounds, he will likely compete with Terrence Cody at nose tackle when Haloti Ngata doesn’t slide to the inside on Baltimore’s revamped defensive line.
He ran a 5.37-second 40-yard dash and possesses the low center of gravity ideal for interior linemen in a 3-4 defensive scheme. His performance at the Senior Bowl put him on the map as a legitimate mid-round draft prospect despite coming from a small school.
“I always knew I could play at that talent and level,” Williams said in a conference call. “I just had to prove to the NFL that I could do it. I always believe in myself every step of the way. It just gave me the opportunity to just show my talent and show that I belong in the NFL.”
Williams thought there was a good chance that the Ravens would draft him and said he met with the team informally at the scouting combine. However, he did not have a private workout or visit with the Ravens.
According to general manager Ozzie Newsome, Williams was identified early in the third round as the player the Ravens wanted to select at the end of Day 2. In addition to free agents Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, the selection of Williams continued to address the defensive line, which was a clear deficiency of Dean Pees’ unit last season.
“We have really bolstered our front seven big time,” coach John Harbaugh said at the conclusion of the third round. “I just think we are going to be deep. We are going to have a nice rotation up front. It’s going to be a very formidable group.”
Williams was tabbed with the 94th overall pick on Friday night.
The Ravens will resume picking on Saturday, with their first selection set for the 129th overall selection near the end of the fourth round. Baltimore has yet to draft an offensive player after selecting safety Matt Elam, inside linebacker Arthur Brown, and Williams to reload a defense that lost six key players this offseason.