AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Avery Williamson and the Road to the NFL Draft

In just over 2 months (64 days to be exact) all 32 NFL teams will make their choices on which college players they think will be the future of the franchise. If that sounds daunting, that’s because it absolutely is, but that is exactly what former UK linebacker Avery Williamson is trying to do. I had a chance to sit down with Williamson today and talk about his time at UK and the future here as well as the NFL combine and his prep for pro day and the draft.

Aug 31, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers running back Keshawn Simpson (34) rushes past Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Avery Williamson (40) for the touchdown during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Williamson said he feels underrated going into the draft, even after the combine. This is not unfamiliar for players coming out of Kentucky, unfortunately. In fact, no UK player has gone in the first round of the NFL draft since Dewayne Robertson was taken in 2003 by the Jets. Since 2010, 6 UK players have been drafted:

John Conner, 5th round, Jets

Trevard Lindley, 4th round, Eagles

Corey Peters, 3rd round, Falcons

Randall Cobb, 2nd round, Packers

Winston Guy, 6th round, Seahawks

Danny Trevathan, 6th round, Broncos

One famous UK linebacker who went on to be a productive NFL player was left off this list; Denver Bronco’s Wesley Woodyard was left undrafted. Williamson said he had been speaking to the other Tennessee native on that list (Cobb), regularly about the whole process and what to expect.

I asked Williamson first to walk me through what a typical day of training for him is like:

“Usually we go to the indoor (Nutter Field House) and warm up, then we’ll start with our speed work, doing the 40 and shuttle work and at least two or three days out of the work we will do position work. Then we come back to the weight room and get a lower body lift in 2 days and upper body on the other three days we work out.”

What has been the best part about preparing for the draft?

“Just showing people how much I’ve improved. I’ve been working on my game all year, I’ve been dieting a whole lot and really trying to get my body fat down but gain weight so it’s cool to show all the scouts how I’ve gotten better.”

He added that he has gained 14 pounds in the off-season, but is down to 7% body fat. The NFL Combine website has him listed as 6’1”, 246 pounds.

I also asked about being at the combine and being the only guy representing UK there:

“The combine, it was really cool and an honor to meet everyone there and just be in that building. It was a great experience, I got to meet a lot of coaches and it was cool to be on that field. I’ve watched it for so long so it was really cool to finally get to be there and perform…It was tough (being the only UK guy there), because I didn’t really have too many people to talk to. There were a few guys from my all-star game there so there were a few familiar faces but other than that I kind of felt like I was alone.”

He said going into the Pro Day (UK’s is March 14), his biggest focus is doing well on his drills and showing the scouts how well he can move. “I just want to show them what type of linebacker I am,” Williamson said.

Williamson has said that UK’s strength and conditioning program has made a big impact on his NFL training, so I asked about that as well.

“Its definitely a big change from what it was a couple years back, its very detailed and its not all about just killing us, its about doing everything good to make us better. I’ve seen progression from everyone, even guys still playing. They’ve gotten a whole lot stronger and faster and more explosive- I’m excited to see what they’re going to do this fall.”

Speaking of the upcoming season, I asked for some predictions. All he would say is “They definitely won’t be 2-10 anymore and expect some great plays by the offense”. UK fans can breathe a sigh of relief on that one. So I had to ask one question that everyone is thinking: do you see a bowl game? “Definitely.”

Aug 31, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Avery Williamson (40) recovers a fumble by Western Kentucky Hilltoppers running back Antonio Andrews (not pictured) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Last season Williamson had 102 tackles, 46 solo and 1 sack (against Vandy) and 11 tackle for loss yards on 4 tackles. The NFL combine website lists his strengths as “Good size. Plays with a good, wide base. Very productive tackler. Outstanding personal and football character — works hard, is accountable and commands respect. Smart, understands the game and can make all the calls and on-field adjustments.” At the combine, he earned himself a 4.9 grade and was a top performer in broad jump and 3-cone drill. He ran an official 4.66 40, had a 30.5 inch vert, 120 inch broad, 7.11 in the 3-cone and was a top performer in the 20 yard shuttle running 4.07.  Right now, CBS Sports has him ranked eighth at inside linebacker, going 197th in the 6th round.

Tags: Avery Williamson Corey Peters Danny Trevathan Dewayne Robertson John Conner Kentucky Football Kentucky Wildcats NFL Nfl Combine NFL Draft Pro Day Randall Cobb Trevard Lindley UK Pro Day University Of Kentucky Football Wesley Woodyard Winston Guy

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