Kansas City Chiefs: Film Review on Xavier Williams


Last offseason, the Chiefs had a major need for a nose tackle alongside the defensive line. General manager Brett Veach decided to sign Kansas City native Xavier Williams to fill that hole. Did he fill his role well in 2018, and can he make the roster in 2019?

Scouting Report:

Xavier Williams isn’t the best athlete. Standing at 6-foot, 311 pounds, Williams is a large dude. If you see him close up, you see that he is a strong guy, but not lean. His conditioning can be a concern at times with his frame, and he needs to be rotated in a lot.

Williams doesn’t have super long arms, and while his strength is good, he is hard for him to engage blockers at times due to his arms being shorter. Good lateral agility for a guy of his size, and he has the speed to move around. Williams isn’t good at shedding blocks, which can lead to a lot of issues.

The Numbers:

Read my other film reviews for how I chart defensive lineman, but basically, I look for win and loss rates, pressures, and stuffs, alongside double teams as well. Williams’s numbers were definitely not the best.

Xavier Williams Run Snaps
Game Snaps Charted Run D WIn Run D Loss Run D Neutral Double Team Stuff Run Run Win % Run Loss %
Steelers 7 2 0 5 0 1 28.6% 0.0%
49ers 15 0 4 11 5 0 0.0% 26.7%
Browns 10 2 1 7 0 2 20.0% 10.0%
Rams 9 4 2 3 0 0 44.4% 22.2%
Raiders 17 3 1 13 3 2 17.6% 5.9%
TOTALS 58 11 8 39 8 5 19.0% 13.8%

To put it simply, Williams was inconsistent vs the run. Some games Williams would flash brilliance against the run, moving across multiple gaps to collect run-stuffs, and clogging holes to allow linebackers to come clean through the hole. The next game, Williams would lose power and leverage quickly, and a huge hole would form. It all depended on matchup for Williams.

His overall numbers weren’t terrible. They weren’t anywhere as good as teammate Derrick Nnadi, but Williams was never brought in to stop the run. Brett Veach liked him for his pass rushing skills as nose tackle, and he thought he would compliment Derrick Nnadi very well. Overall, for Williams to progress as a run defender, he needs to learn how to keep leverage better, or he just gets blocked too easily. Play recognition must improve as well for him to progress.

Xavier Williams Pass Rush Snaps
Games Snaps Charted Pass Rush Win Pass Rush Loss Pass Rush Neutral Double Team Pass Deflection Pressures Pass Rush Win % Pass Rush Loss % Pressure Rate
Steelers 26 1 5 20 10 1 0 3.8% 19.2% 0.0%
49ers 15 2 1 12 5 0 1 13.3% 6.7% 6.7%
Browns 11 1 2 8 3 0 0 9.1% 18.2% 0.0%
Rams 25 4 2 19 9 0 1 16.0% 8.0% 4.0%
Raiders 13 2 2 9 1 0 0 15.4% 15.4% 0.0%
TOTALS 90 10 12 68 28 1 2 11.1% 13.3% 2.2%

This is where I was most disappointed in Williams. Yes, it is hard to win when you are double teamed, but Williams wasn’t even double teamed all that much. Teams were willing to leave Williams with one blocker, and he lacked any serious rush plan to gain power. Williams does have good speed for his size, and a nice first step, so he can occasionally win with speed. The problem is that Williams doesn’t really have a consistent bull rush he can rely on. I mentioned this earlier, but Williams has short arms for his frame. Even though he is pretty strong, he can’t engage blockers all that well, and he can’t get his hands on them consistently.

His numbers are pretty poor. Any time your loss rate is higher than
your win rate, you aren’t very good at pass rushing. His pressure rate
was also seriously low, which is concerning. I truly was disappointed
when watching his tape, I thought I would see better tape, and he just
didn’t produce.

The Film:

One thing you can’t question is Williams’s effort. The man always keeps his feet moving, which is encouraging. When watching guys like Emmanuel Ogbah or Derrick Nnadi, there were too many snaps of them flat-footed, not moving at all. Williams doesn’t have that issue at all. Gets good power here, since he never quits. The new defensive coaching staff should love that trait.

For a guy as big as Xavier Williams, he does flash impressive lateral agility. While he did struggle against some zone blocks, does a good job here of moving alongside the block, not allowing the offensive line to get their hands fully on him, and he also reads cutback attempt, and stuffs the run. This type of play recognition needs to be shown more consistently for him to get more snaps.


Williams loves his rip move, and he is pretty good with it. I said earlier, Williams’s hands are very underdeveloped, and he needs work with them. That being said, he has developed a rip move, and I hope he works on a few more to become a more consistent pass rusher.

Conclusion: Does Xavier Williams have a role for the Chiefs in 2019?

Xavier Williams was a disappointing study. I didn’t have massive expectations for the nose tackle last season, but I was disappointed. His shorter arms just affect the way he can play. If you can’t engage blockers at a consistent level, it is hard to justify being doubled. As a nose tackle, it is Williams job to be able to be forced into double teams. If you have to be doubled, that means you are doing your job at a high level. Williams doesn’t justify double teams enough.

Williams is a young guy, but he really doesn’t have a high ceiling for his position. Are there  little  things he could clean up? Absolutely. His play recognition could get a lot better. Williams sometimes struggled against zone blocks, reading where the block was coming from. He could also work on his body more. Will he fix the issue with short arms? No, he physically can’t. He can learn to engage better, and work on more upper body strength. Besides that, learning how to use his hands more consistently would help as well.

Does he fit the new 4-3 defensive scheme? Absolutely. He can still play that one technique spot, and take on the double teams in a two gap scheme. Personally, I think Williams is more of a one gap player, and maybe Spagnuolo will incorporate that into his defense. Still, Williams must play well in training camp.

The Chiefs have built some really good depth along their defensive line, and Williams has a sizable cap hit this year. If other guys on the roster, such as Justin Hamilton and Khalen Saunders, have better camps than Williams, he will get cut. They aren’t attached to him too much. Still, if he has a good camp, he will be a nice depth piece, sharing snaps with fellow nose tackle Derrick Nnadi. Williams will have to work to stay on the roster though. His spot is not guaranteed.


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