Detroit Lions: Could Antwione Williams steal a starting gig?

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 27: Running back Javorius Allen
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 27: Running back Javorius Allen /

Even in the wake of the Detroit Lions’ offseason additions, here’s why Antwione Williams is very much in the competition at starting strongside linebacker.

It’s not too often you will see three linebacker sets because of the way the NFL has transitioned. Defensively, the Detroit Lions spent nearly three quarters of their snaps in the nickel package alone. When they employ their base 4-3 alignment, I believe the third linebacker could very well end up being Antwione Williams.

Injuries opened the door for the former Georgia Southern product to get some very valuable snaps as the third linebacker. He responded by holding his own, even starting three games.

You need to be big, athletic, fast and have bad intentions to be a strongside linebacker. It is a tall task to be able to play this position. Generally, the strongside linebacker spot is the toughest to make plays from.

Whether it is covering tight ends or taking on lead blockers, Williams certainly fits the bill as a SAM linebacker. Physically, at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, he looks the part as well.

Williams was under-the-radar coming out a FCS level program. At the moment, he still remains underrated, but don’t expect that to last long. Oh yeah, he can play all three of the linebacker spots too.

"“Yeah, I’m definitely trying to lock into (the strongside) this spring,” Williams told “Last year, I wasn’t really able to do that, I was experiencing everything. This year, I’ve got more time and experience and feel I’m playing better at the SAM spot.”"

The path to a starting gig for Williams at strongside linebacker is the one of least resistance. Rookie Jarrad Davis is being asked to play at middle linebacker and Tahir Whitehead on the weak-side. Paul Worrilow is a better fit as the MIKE while rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin belongs at WILL. The only linebacker who could threaten the second-year defender would be Nick Bellore.

Next: NFC North Position Rankings - Defensive Line

Chances are the Detroit Lions won’t use three linebackers very often, but when they do, Antwione Williams seems to be the clear choice for the job. Even Lions’ head coach Jim Caldwell gave him positive reviews this offseason. And now Williams needs to go out, prove himself and exceed expectations.