He didn't finish strong last season, if only because his last six games were played with a severe thigh bruise. But before this point, and even during, Trent Williams would show flashes -- sometimes much more than flashes -- of elite play. It's why the Washington Redskins are excited about his future; and it's why Williams earned a spot in the top 70 of ESPN's #NFLRank Project.
Williams was ranked 67th among offensive players, higher than three of his teammates who debuted earlier. Running back Alfred Morris was 75th among offensive players; linebackers London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan were 71st and 73rd, respectively.
Williams should continue to rise. At times he's looked dominant in training camp, even when facing linebacker Brian Orakpo. Williams' athleticism was never in doubt, but he's added more strength to his game as well as improved technique. When Williams would get in trouble with a rusher as a rookie, he relied on his athleticism to bail him out. Now, he's better at staying balanced and avoiding trouble. However, if it does happen, his footwork remains at a high level.
Williams is one of the Redskins' most indispensable players, not only because he has unproven backups behind him, but also because of how he changes the offense. The Redskins ask him to make blocks other left tackles would be unable to: racing out to the deep flat or block a corner on a screen pass; pulling to the right to pick up a blitzing linebacker through the opposite A gap. If he stays healthy -- he's battled a sprained wrist this summer -- Williams should earn a second trip to the Pro Bowl.