Ravens third-round draft pick Brandon Williams, a defensive tackle out of Missouri Southern State, is not a household name -- yet. Williams has been labeled a draft steal, a 6-foot-1, 335-pound lineman who will start his rookie season backing up Haloti Ngata. Williams talked about going from humble beginnings to the NFL and how he isn't afraid of hard work and getting dirty, literally.
Brandon Williams: It feels great. You know, just as a kid, that's what you dream about: going to rookie minicamp, doing everything and playing with the veterans and playing with the other guys. And I'm here now. I'm living my dream. It's wonderful.
Morgan Adsit: When did it become realistic to you that it was going to happen so soon in the draft and that you had a feeling, Baltimore, you were definitely on their radar?
BW: Well, Baltimore came to my college quite a few times … so I knew that they were definitely looking at me. … I definitely knew they were in the cards.
MA: Being from a Division II program, did you feel like you really needed to go above and beyond just the normal guy at the Scouting Combine, you know, your workouts? When they were even there to see you, did you feel that pressure of the stigma?
BW: Coming from D-II, I've had a question mark on my head, like, 'Can he compete with the D-I-type caliber, pro-type caliber teams?' So I've always had that chip on my shoulder, but I always knew that I could compete with those guys. It was just up to me to go out there and prove to the NFL, to the scouts, that I could do the job. And it wasn't really I had to step up my game, it was just keep doing what I was doing, and just keep doing it well.
MA: Were you surprised the attention you got, kind of the non-traditional ways, like a YouTube video of you walking on your hands, you know, being a D-lineman being able to walk on his hands? I can't even do that. But everyone's seen your arms. ... They've seen pictures of you and images of you and know that you're a big guy. Were you surprised that you got attention that way, and was it leverage?
BW: I guess so. I mean, Mr. Ozzie [Newsome], he talked about it. Coach [John] Harbaugh talked about it, so I mean, it was kind of awkward, you know, the first guy here was like, 'All right, I want to see some of that handstand!' You know, some of the teammates were kind of joking with me, and I was like, I mean I can do it, but I don't think they want me to do it here, you know? But it was definitely kind of, it was funny just to be known as the handstand guy. "He's the handstand guy." Soon as I got here, some of the trainers and some of the faculty and staff, they were like, "Oh, so you're the handstand guy, aren't you?" It wasn't, "You're Brandon Williams." It was, "You're the handstand guy." So it was funny. I liked it. It was awesome.
MA: It's a hybrid defense. A lot of guys get mixed in and out. It'll be 3-4 sometimes, 4-3 sometimes. How comfortable are you moving along the line and maybe even being in the middle a little bit?
BW: I'm very comfortable with it. During college, I played the whole defensive line from end to end, and I feel like I can play any scheme, any front, anywhere they need me to play, any time. So I'm just happy to be here, and I'm just learning my role and learning my many roles, and just trying to succeed at it.
MA: On defense, you've got to be a hard-nosed guy. You have to like to get dirty. But you've done that kind of on the other side of your job. Tell us about some of your extra money you were [earning] when you were in school. You could've been in an episode of "Dirty Jobs."
BW: Exactly, exactly, I actually thought about that when I was working. I used to, for summer jobs, I did porta potties, cleaned porta potties and transported porta potties. I also was a bouncer, and bouncing at different night establishments, so it was tough. I mean, I would get off work, then go to a club that night, get off at 2 o'clock and then got to go to school in the morning or whatever. So it was rough, but it was something I had to do. I had to support [myself] as a college student, a D-II college student. So it's not like we get that much money, and I also support my family.
MA: Do you, when people complain about life or jobs, are you like, "I probably did one of the worst jobs in the world"?
BW: No, you can't complain with me. I've done a lot. I'm one of those guys, like no matter what the job is, no job is too big or too small. I mean, if you need help, I'll get men to do it, or if you need me to do it, I'll do it. I'm really grounded and humble that way. I'm never going to forget where I came from. I'm never going to think I'm better than someone else, because I'm not. I'm just Brandon, and that's all I am.
Watch Morgan Adsit on "Sports Unlimited" on Fox 45 Baltimore, at 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekdays and at 10 p.m. weekends. Follow Morgan on Twitter: @MorganAdsit.
Issue 186: June 2013