Round 2: (No. 54) Gerald Willis III, DT, Miami (Fla.)
With the recent departure of Christian Covington, the Houston Texans are in the market for a player who can lineup all over the defensive line… enter Gerald Willis III from The University of Miami, or better known as “The U.” This interior defensive lineman was used primarily as a standard tackle, but was used intermittently at the nose tackle position. At 302 pounds, Willis can be used interchangeably at both positions.
Willis’ strength comes primarily in the run game, finishing the season as the third-best interior lineman against the run per Pro Football Focus. Willis stopped the run 11.7 percent of the time he was on the field in 2018 against his collegiate opponents. Willis’ most impressive stat outside of rush defense comes from his ability to attack the interior linemen and create pressure, which is something the Texans could use as well to play along side J.J. Watt.
According to PFF, Willis hurried opposing quarterbacks 16 times throughout the 2018 season at Miami, and finished his senior season with three sacks and seven quarterback hits.
Willis’ draft stock may rise as the 2019 NFL Draft approaches, but if he is still sitting there at 54th overall, then the Texans should not sleep on this high ceiling target. They need to add to their defensive line, and gain a little youth along the way, so Willis should be who they are looking for.