Trent Williams, athletic freak, stands out at Redskins training camp


Trent Williams, left, takes part in offensive line drills with offensive tackle Morgan Moses during Day 1 of training camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams is such a gifted athlete, he once played center flawlessly on short notice in college after never having previously worked at the position. But that was nothing, Williams said after practice Wednesday.

If Williams lost about “50 pounds and practiced, I’d be a nice tight end, or maybe even an outside linebacker,” he said. “Who knows?”

This much is certain: Coach Jay Gruden has no interest in Williams changing positions. The anchor of the Redskins’ line, Williams, beginning his fifth season, has matured into the franchise cornerstone former head coach Mike Shanahan envisioned he would become.

Williams’s rare combination of strength, quickness and agility has helped him develop into a two-time Pro Bowler. And over the past few seasons, Williams has become a better student of the game. Film study is as much a part of his preparation as weight training.

The people who depend on Williams are in good hands.

“Definitely a good feeling to know he’s over there,” quarterback Robert Griffin III said recently.

Said running back Alfred Morris, “I don’t know what more you could want [in an offensive lineman]. If there is something, I’d like to know what it is.”

Around the NFL, Williams is what’s commonly known as a “freak.” The description is reserved for players who uncommon physical tools.

“I am a great athlete,” said Williams, who embraces being in a lead role. “I feel like I play offensive tackle the best.”

He does. But what about quarterback?

“I definitely could be” a quarterback, Williams said. “I do have a talented arm. Not to toot my own horn.”

● Related: Williams ran hills with Adrian Peterson in 102-degree heat this offseason

Of course, it would be difficult for Williams, listed at 6 feet 5, 337 pounds, to get under center. While protecting Griffin’s “blind side,” Williams moves better than most at his position.

Not surprisingly, Williams has stood out during camp. Often, Gruden and offensive line coach Chris Foerster have praised him. There’s a lot of good stuff to say.

Williams prefers to talk about the rest of his unit. The offensive line is coming along nicely, Williams said.

“It’s a great group,” he said. “We only added one new guy – left guard Shawn Lauvao – but Shawn is a vet. He doesn’t have that learning curve that a lot of new guys have.

“The more we play together, the better off we’ll be. Obviously, we’ve got to get that cohesiveness down. … We need a little time to build that chemistry. But we’re coming along.”

Williams is trying to bring the rookies along, too. He’s available to lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed. Tackle Morgan Moses has already benefitted from Williams’s experience.

“He’s definitely progressing,” Williams said of Moses. “He works hard. He’s very diligent in the meetings. He takes a lot of notes.”

Griffin being at full strength has helped the entire offense. Without the bulky knee brace, the 2012 NFL offensive rookie of the year is moving well.

“He’s 100 percent. He has the confidence that he once had before the injury,” Williams said. “Everything just happens a lot quicker. It’s a lot smoother. The team runs a lot better.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

Washington has a walk-through scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Wednesday. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.

Also from The Post:

Cardinals CB Peterson gets record deal | Fancy Stats: It’s deserved | Sherman reacts

Post Sports Live: Is ‘Camp Boring’ a good thing?

Confident S Thomas catching coaches’ eyes

Hatcher signing lit fire under DE Jenkins

More NFL coverage: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost@Insider

Jason Reid is a sports columnist with the Washington Post. He joined the Post’s Redskins team in 2007 after 15 years covering many beats at the Los Angeles Times.
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