NASHVILLE – They were only together for one season, 2017, but it was a year Alabama’s football team won a national championship.
Jonah Williams was a sophomore offensive tackle. Brian Daboll was in his only year as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator.
The experience went so well that Williams would relish the idea of the Buffalo Bills drafting him Thursday night so he could be reunited with Daboll, who is going on his second season as the Bills’ OC.
The Bills own the ninth overall pick, and there’s reason to believe they would give strong consideration to selecting Williams, who would address an obvious need.
“That’d be really exciting,” Williams said Wednesday during pre-draft media availability at Nissan Stadium. “I feel like I’d be insulting people if I started talking about team needs, but I would love to play O-line there.”
He sees his history with Daboll as being helpful to transitioning to the NFL.
“I think there’s some familiarity there, for sure,” Williams said. “I don’t know if he keeps the same verbiage and stuff. He kind of adjusted some things at Alabama, but I definitely have some familiarity with him, with that program. I think it’d be great.”
During their one season together, Williams learned plenty of football. Part of that is because Williams is a fairly quick study. He loaded up on advanced placement classes in high school, and graduated from Alabama in three years with a degree in marketing.
But he also found Daboll to be an exceptional teacher.
“I was always impressed by his football IQ, which I think everyone at the NFL level has, but he just has another level of it,” Williams said. “His understanding of how to beat certain coverages, how to beat certain defenses … like, he has an answer for everything. And it was something that was really apparent playing for him.”
Williams said the Bills didn’t bring him in for a pre-draft visit, but he has met with representatives of the team.
The Bills very well could view him or another prospect as a potential replacement for incumbent left tackle Dion Dawkins, who struggled badly last season. Williams started at right tackle from the very first game of his freshman year, and was moved to the left side for his final two seasons at Alabama.
Although he considers himself more comfortable as a left tackle, he said he doesn’t care which side of the line he begins his NFL career.
“I think the thing about the NFL is everyone’s so good,” Williams said. “Every team has eight guys that were the very best in college, so, for me, I’m just going to be grateful for an opportunity to play anywhere. I played left tackle at a high level in college, I played right tackle at a high level in college. But I’d be willing to play anything a team wants me to play just because I know how big of a feat it is to be playing in the NFL.”
However, he is eager to put all of the pre-hype rhetoric – whether it’s what position he plays or where he’s selected, questions about his arm length or the relatively short duration of his college career – behind him.
“I’m excited to get to the end (of the draft process),” Williams said. “People ask me if I’m excited for the draft. I say, ‘I’m excited for the day after.’ I’m excited to be on a team and be playing football again, because that's what it’s about. That’s what we're here for, all of us.
“We’re good college football players and we're trying to be good NFL players. I’m excited to get there and start playing football. This process is great. I know it’s a necessary thing that teams have to do to evaluate and things like that, but I’m just excited to put the pads on.”