Tracking the Tide: Jesse Williams

Editor’s note: Each day between now and Alabama's date with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, we will review the season for a key Crimson Tide player or coach and attempt to project what’s next for him. Today we’ll look at nose guard Jesse Williams.

No. 54 Jesse Williams

Nose guard

36 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack

Role in 2012: Williams was the anchor to the defensive line at nose guard.

The good: The senior made the transition from defensive end to nose guard look relatively painless this season. He was able to take up two and three blockers at a time and free up others to make plays. Because of that, he didn't accumulate the individual statistics fans focus in on. Instead, you can point to the overall success of the defense (No. 1 in yards allowed, No. 1 in rushing defense, No. 6 in passing defense) as a result of Williams' play.

The bad: Williams began the season saying he'd like to bring a twist to the nose guard position and rush the passer more than his predecessors had. For better or worse, he wasn't able to accomplish that goal as he finished with just one sack and four quarterback hurries. The defense as a whole struggled to get consistent pressure on the passer.

Crystal ball: Williams has a high grade for the upcoming NFL draft, but he might not end up playing nose guard at the next level. His size (6-foot-3, 320-pounds) and athleticism makes him an attractive option as a run-stuffing defensive end on Sundays. Alabama will likely look to freshman Darren Lake and sophomore Brandon Ivory to fill Williams' shoes. Redshirt Dakota Ball could play the position in a role similar to Nick Gentry's a year ago as a third-down interior defensive lineman.