Williams was waived by the Lions on Saturday, Josina Anderson of ESPN reports.
This is a surprising development given the experience Williams received in his rookie year coupled with the fact he seemed to be in the mix for a starting role in 2017. The Lions are probably hoping he'll clear waivers and be able to stash him on their practice squad.
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Williams is "a ton, ton better" so far this offseason compared to Williams' rookie year, Paula Pasche of The Oakland Press reports."[Williams is] much more urgent in terms of how he's attacking the game, really is seeing and understands the scheme better, so he's reacting faster and he's a big man that can run,'' Austin said. "So, he's really done some good things throughout this offseason, really like where he's going right now."
After being taken in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, Williams was thrown into the fire his rookie season after the Lions' linebacking corps suffered a slew of injuries. His performance had its ups and downs, but it seems a full offseason in the pros is really helping him understand his role on defense. Although he's in the mix for a starting job in 2017, it seems more likely than not he opens the season rotating in behind Paul Worrilow and Tahir Whitehead. However, given his offseason reviews, Williams seems like a good bet to improve upon his 204 defensive snaps from 2016. In turn, the Georiga Southern product also appears to have favorable odds of topping his first-year totals of 27 tackles and one fumble recovery.
Williams, a fifth-round pick last season, received more playing time than expected as a rookie due to the flurry of injuries that hit the Lions' linebacker corps. After Detroit signed Paul Worrilow in free agency and took Jarrad Davis in the first round of the draft his past April, Williams looked to be on the outs for a spot on the first team, but Davis is locked into the middle spot while both Tahir Whitehead and Worrilow fit in better at weakside linebacker than on the strong side. If Williams can secure a starting role in advance of Week 1, Williams would be a safe bet to improve upon the 201 snaps (19.9 percent of the Lions' total defensive plays) and 27 tackles he logged in 2016.
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|