Duke Williams has been the first Nevada Wolf Pack football player taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The former Hug High School standout was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the 8th pick in the 4th round (105th overall).
Listed at 5-foot-11, 201 pounds, Williams is considered a playmaker in the secondary and is known for his sprinter speed. Williams played mostly at strong safety at Nevada and finished with 292 tackles, 18 pass breakups and four interceptions.
Williams gives the Bills some much-needed depth at safety. Buffalo's top safety, Jairus Byrd, is unsigned after receiving the franchise tag and the Bills have little experience on the roster behind Byrd.(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
According to scouts with NFL.com:
40-yard dash time at combine: 4.52 seconds
Sprinter background becomes obvious when watching him close to the sideline on running backs or track down the ball while it's in the air. Physicality not typical of sprinter, relishes the chance to pound the shoulder or mid-section of ballcarriers after coming across the field. Fills a gap in the run games even if starting the play in a cover-two alignment due to his recognition and reaction abilities. His athleticism helps him break down in the open field and his length aids him drag them to the ground, making him a reliable open-field tackler. Another important component of Williams' game is that he shows great balance in coverage, showcasing a smooth back-pedal, and fluid hips. Shows the hands to make difficult interception, as well.
Like many aggressive college safeties, gets sucked up by play action. Needs to prove his average size is enough to handle the strength and speed of larger pro receivers in coverage; often lines up against slot receivers, showing good agility but also manhandling them (which will draw a flag at the next level) down the field, especially if he gets tripped up on their first move. Has had multiple off-field issues while playing in his hometown, as well, including arrests for underage possession of alcohol (November 2009) and driving with a suspended license and without insurance after being in a car accident (December 2011).
The Reno native has become a hometown favorite for the Wolf Pack, earning second-team All-WAC honors as a junior, and second-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior. Williams is able to use his sprinter's speed and nice agility to negate receivers downfield. He also has experience in man assignments versus slot players. While Williams' doesn't possess a large build, he is more than willing to throw his body around with impunity. His average size, overaggressive nature, and off-field incidents might limit how high teams will be willing to take him, but there are many aspects to his game that should still have him selected relatively early.
Pick Analysis from Mike Mayock: "He's a gifted kid. He's had some off-the-field issues or he would have been drafted higher than this. He's a special-teams player. He can close in on the football. He just has to watch his temper."