Bryson Allen-Williams sat at a round folding table in the Indiana Convention Center adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium still surprised to be there. Allen-Williams was in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. He only learned he’d be coming five weeks ago.
“It was Jan. 29, the last day they send invitations,” the former South Carolina defender said. “They sent an email. I was in training up in Nashville and my mom texted me and told me I had an invite to the Combine. I was ecstatic. Being able to compete in front of all these teams is exciting.”
Allen-Williams, 6-foot-1, 236 pounds, played 49 games at South Carolina over five years. He finished his career with 118 tackles and 6.5 sacks playing mostly along the defensive line in a hybrid rush role. His future in the NFL, if he has one, will be at linebacker, which is fine by him.
Allen-Williams is happy to be back at his more natural position. He was always slightly miscast as an end at South Carolina, pushed into a less advantageous position by team need. He hopes now that his versatility will help him get a shot at the next level.
“I feel like that will help me a lot,” he said. “When they put me on the board, I feel I understand the defense as a whole.”
Allen-Williams hoped to run a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, but he posted a 4.88 and 5.04 unofficially on Sunday. He completed 14 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press, the second-fewest among linebackers here. He is projected as fifth-to-seventh round pick by WalterFootball.com, which ranks him the No. 21 inside linebacker prospect this year.
“I don’t have a round expectation,” Allen-Williams said. “am just going to take every day in stride and compete to the best of my ability. If I get an opportunity, no matter where I go, if it’s late round or undrafted, I am going to go to that team and work and make sure I show who I am and why I shouldn’t have been slept on.”
Allen-Williams lost nine games in 2017 to a shoulder injury and another four last season to an ankle injury. He returned from the ankle injury to make an appearance, and five tackles, in the Belk Bowl but was not full strength, he said. He had a better showing in the Tropical Bowl in January, a showcase game designed for NFL scouts.
Allen-Williams is represented by Premier Athlete Advisors, one of the few agencies that still pursued him after his ankle injury this year, he said. He has used those snubs to fuel him through the draft preparation process, he said.
“I have always had a chip on my shoulder. I play with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “It’s a blessing. God doesn’t put you in any situation for no reason so I feel like I’m going to be able to capitalize on my opportunity and make those guys who turned their backs on me know what they missed out on.”
How To Watch NFL Combine
The NFL Network will carry player drills live and highlights beginning Friday and continuing through Monday.
6 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Review of Saturday workouts
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Live coverage of defensive line and linebacker drills
4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Highlights and review
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Live coverage of defensive back drills
8 p.m. to 11 p.m. – Highlights and review