The NFL is about on-field production, not what players can do in the weight room. The NFL combine is used to gauge the speed, strength and agility of future prospects, though, so it’s no wonder that one big-time prospect is aiming to break the combine’s longstanding bench press record this year.
Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams, who projects as a first- or second-round pick in this year’s draft, plans to break the draft combine record of 51 bench press reps of 225 pounds at this year’s event, he told The Courier-Mail in an interview.
The current record of 51 reps was set by Justin Ernest of Eastern Kentucky in 1999. Williams, a native of Brisbane, Australia, said he thinks he can break that mark and has even maxed out at 600 pounds on the bench to prove his unrivaled strength. Putting that strength in context, Williams’ 600-pound max is 100 pounds more than that of 2012 combine bench champion Dontari Poe, who completed 44 bench press reps at the combine.
Williams isn’t the first player to claim his stake at the bench press throne, and he likely won’t be the last. Michigan center David Molk claimed he would break the record just last year, but he came up 10 short and finished with just 41 reps on the bench.
Williams, at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, is a versatile lineman who played both inside and outside on the defensive line as well as a little fullback during his career with the Crimson Tide. His size and skills alone project him as a high-round pick. While setting the record won’t guarantee him a place in the first round, showing off that much strength can’t hurt his case.
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