by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

The Buffalo Bills announced this morning that long time defensive tackle Kyle Williams will play his last game for the bills this Sunday as he is retiring. For an undersized, short armed defensive lineman Williams has had one hell of a career and he could very well be enshrined in the Hall of Fame someday.

Williams was a fifth round pick in the 2006 Draft yet he has had a career far better than most drafted higher than him. In that draft only Mario Williams, who was the first pick overall in that draft, and Haloti Ngata (also a first rounder) have had careers that have even come close.

Supposed To Be Average

When we look at the measurables, Williams was supposed to be a very average NFL player with a short career. Williams was not invited to the Combine but at the LSU Pro Day he was measured at 6-1 & 299 pounds and ran a 4.99 40. His arm length was just 31 7/8”, hardly ideal for a defensive lineman in the NFL, where arm length is placed at a premium. His vertical jump of 27 ½” was also much lower than average.

What wasn’t measured at the LSU Pro Day was his rare competitive nature and football character. Kyle Williams willed himself to be a great player and a great player he was. Five times he was selected to go to the Pro Bowl and once he was voted All Pro first team. Those honors put him in an elite category.

Better In The Locker Room

As productive as Williams was on the field, he was even better in the locker room. He was an exceptional leader both verbally and by example who both the players and coaches highly respected. Having guys like Kyle Williams on a team, makes that team even better as he was always one of the people who helped drive his teammates.

Though Williams was a great player, he was not surrounded by enough players who were equal to him as an NFL talent. For that reason, the Buffalo Bills only went to the Playoffs one time during Williams 13 year career and that was last year. I can guarantee you that no one in the Bills locker room appreciated being in the Playoffs more than Kyle Williams.

Drive To Be Great

What made Williams such a good player? His drive, his competitive nature and his overall skill set. Williams was very quick off the ball and had excellent instincts. He was very quick to find the ball and with his excellent hand use he was able to get off blocks very quickly. Obviously he was no speedster, but he has exceptional limited area quickness and could move through trash as good as anyone. His strength and power were second to none and that along with his quick hands kept him from being blocked very long.

Williams had excellent stats. Going into his final game, he has recorded 607 total tackles as well as 48.5 career sacks and six fumble recoveries. It would be nice if he can get that sack total to an even 50 with 1.5 sacks against Miami on Sunday.

All-Star Off The Field

Off the field, Kyle Williams was just like he was on the field…an All Star. He is a great husband and a great father and role model for his five children. There were few Buffalo Bills like him since the franchise began back in 1960. He will be missed by his coaches and teammates but fans can be well assured that it won’t be long before his name is up on the Bills Wall of Fame and hopefully Canton not to long after.

As Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott stated “Kyle Williams personifies what we want to be about as Buffalo Bills”. Well said! Don’t be surprised to see Williams working for the Bills in the near future in a as yet to be determined role. He has deserved that.

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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