Daryl Williams had most of his family gathered at his parents’ home in Lake Dallas, Texas, on Friday night to celebrate his selection in the NFL draft.
He sat patiently in the second round, waiting to hear his name called. Then he grew impatient as the draft went into the third round. By the end of the night, he was crushed.
“Yeah I’m not going to lie, I was devastated last night,” Williams told reporters Saturday with a hint of nervous laughter. “Yesterday was a long day.
“But someone drafted me and it was the Panthers and I thank them for that. All I need is an opportunity.”
The Panthers took Williams, an offensive tackle from the University of Oklahoma, with the No. 102 overall pick in the fourth round of the draft, trading three picks to get him.
Sitting in the fourth round with the 124th overall pick, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman decided to execute his second trade of the draft. He sent Oakland his fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks to move up 22 picks and get a tackle the team had a high third-round grade on.
“Daryl is big and powerful,” Gettleman said of the 6-foot-6, 329-pound tackle. “He’s got good enough athletic ability. Long-armed kid with big gloves. He’s exactly what we’re looking for. We had a third round value on him and he was too good to pass up. He gives us position flexibility, versatility.”
Williams was surprised when told the Panthers gave up three draft picks to secure him.
“I didn’t know they gave up three picks,” he said. “I knew they traded up for me, and that shows a lot. I’m thankful for them for drafting me.”
Gettleman and Panthers coach Ron Rivera like Williams’ size. He’s big and has the kind of initial punch a team likes for a tackle. In the 35 games he started in at Oklahoma, he played 34 at right tackle, and he and the Panthers feel more comfortable with him there than at left tackle.
With Mike Remmers as the Day One starter at right tackle, Williams will compete against Jonathan Martin and Nate Chandler for the primary backup role.
But he could also kick inside to guard. Williams had the slowest 20-shuttle of any lineman at the NFL combine at 5.15 seconds. Being slow will hamper his ability to block in space with a mobile quarterback such as Cam Newton, but Carolina believes in him.
“He’s definitely the style of player we’re looking for,” Gettleman said. “We’re looking for fits. We’re not looking to put a square peg in a round hole, and this guy fits. He has unusual point of attack power and he’s got more than enough athletic ability to do the combo stuff – get in space and do the pass (protection).”
Williams called himself a “nasty” player, and he’s snarling in the picture on his Oklahoma biography page.
“When it’s lights, camera, action time to play football or when it’s football-related,” Williams said, he gets mean.
Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9