By signing the former Chicago Bear to a two-year deal, the Detroit Lions are hoping 2019 wasn’t a fluke for defensive linemen Nick Williams.
Former Chicago Bear Nick Williams was one of the many free agents signings made by the Detroit Lions last week, and by giving him a two-year, $10 million deal, they are banking that Williams’ breakout 2019 season wasn’t an anomaly.
Previously seen as NFL jobber bouncing around the league, Williams finally found his footing in Chicago in 2018 before legitimizing himself as key front-four rotation member, appearing in all 16 games and racking up 6.0 sacks, 42 total tackles, nine quarterback hits and two fumble recoveries.
With those solid stats, it’s hard to believe that Williams was out of football in 2017. After working out with Chicago and Atlanta, Williams was all set to be a Falcon before an injury at wide receiver forced the team to draft a pass catcher.
After nearly half a decade of waiting for his shot and one whole year of being out of football all together, it was ultimately Williams’ toughness and gring-to-the-nose mentality that kept him in the NFL.
Here’s what Williams told Tim Twentyman of Detroitlions.com Saturday.
"“I was confident. I was always confident in myself, the type of player that I am. Always knew that I would have success at some point because I just worked too hard and trained like a dog, long hours, and at the end of the day, I just needed the opportunity to show that on the field.”"
Previously viewed as a run-stuffing linemen, Williams flipped his narrative last season, turning him into a balanced linemen who can line up in any part of head coach Matt Patricia’s defense.
Williams told the Detroit News that he learned from former teammate and former Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh, who taught him a few interior rushing techniques while also instilled a confidence in Williams that he hadn’t previously had in his professional career.
Williams will play a key role in Detroit, as he will likely line up next to Da’Shawn Hand and Danny Shelton. The occasional dominance of Hand and the sheer size of Shelton will cause double teams, freeing up Williams to make plays.
If Nick Williams can prove that his 2019 season was not a fluke and can be productive for Detroit, Lions fans could potentially feel like Suh never left as the new line racks up sacks and pressure, especially against weak offensive lines.