ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - The Denver Broncos added another big defensive tackle and felt like they got a big bargain, as well, when they chose Sylvester Williams in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday.
Widely viewed as a top-20 pick, the 313-pounder from North Carolina who played one season at Jefferson City High School, fell down to Denver's spot at No. 28 and the Broncos knew they had their man.
They were flush with 300-pound defensive tackles - the sort defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio prefers - after signing Terrence "Pot Roast" Knighton in free agency and bringing back veteran hole plugger Kevin Vickerson.
But this choice was too good to resist for Broncos executive vice president John Elway and coach John Fox. Williams, who enrolled at North Carolina after two years in junior college, finished with 201â„2 tackles for loss, 81â„2 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries in his two years with the Tar Heels.
"Sylvester is a big, strong, fast player and he will be a great fit for our defense," Fox said.
It has been quite a quick rise for Williams, who only played one season of football in high school, where he struggled academically. After graduation, he worked in a factory making radiator parts for large trucks. That got old quick, and when he decided to try to play football, Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College was his best choice.
The Tar Heels won a healthy recruiting battle for Williams and, two years later, he'll find himself on a team looking for pieces to complete a Super Bowl run - but also hoping to build for the future.
The Broncos believe they're fulfilling both goals with this pick, though they'll enter the second day of the draft with needs - at defensive end to replace Elvis Dumervil, and also in the defensive backfield and at running back.