NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Since Alabama’s national championship loss to Clemson in January Jonah Williams has been hard at work proving to NFL teams he was the best offensive lineman in the NFL Draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals agreed.
The Bengals drafted Williams No. 11 overall on Friday and he was the first offensive lineman taken.
Now there is only one thing Williams wants to do now.
“I am so humbled and grateful,” he said. “This whole process is really long and there is a lot that goes into it. I’ve been giving this my whole focus and attention. Now I’m ready to get to work and I want to be the best player I possibly can be.”
So what exactly is Cincinnati getting with the 11th overall pick?
“They are getting a competitor. I literally just want to come into work tomorrow morning and go to work. That’s what I do,” Williams said. “I see myself as the player they picked first and I’m humbled by that. My goal is to go in and prove them right.”
Jonah Williams was a three-year starter on the offensive line who graduated in December. He started all 44 games over the last three seasons, playing right tackle as a true freshman while Cam Robinson started at the other spot. He shifted to left tackle before the 2017 season and played there for two years.
For most of the 2018 season he lined up against defensive lineman Quinnen Williams in practice. Quinnen sent No. 3 overall in the draft to the New York Jets.
“That’s why I chose to go to Alabama – to play against the guys that I played with in practice and to play in the playoffs every year and to play against Clemson and things like that,” Jonah Williams said. “That prepared me as best it could.
“I think the NFL is a different beast. What I bring on top of that is the preparation that I have and the work ethic. If someone is more talented than me I’m just going to have to outwork him.”
Williams is among the most decorated linemen of the Nick Saban era at Alabama. Williams was a finalist for the Outland Trophy this season, given to the nation’s best lineman. He was a freshman All-American in 2016 and was second-team All-SEC. In 2017, he was named a second-team All-America by the Associated Press and was a third-team pick by the American Football Coaches Association. He didn’t allow a sack in SEC play as a sophomore.