The DLP Writing Staff Takes a Look at the Signing of Defensive Tackle Sylvester Williams.
When I went to look at tape on Sylvester “Sly” Williams, I was impressed with his short area quickness for such a big man. At 6’3, 320 lbs, you expect his game to be all power. But he does move better in space than you would think for a mid-tier nose tackle. Sly can be overwhelmingly powerful as well.
He would consistently blow right through offensive lineman when solo blocked. Expect him to eat up blocks much of this season. In doing so, he frees up space for his teammates around him to make plays, which is likely where his biggest contribution will come from. Still, do not be surprised when he makes some special plays himself.
Williams is exactly the kind of two-gapping run stuffer the Lions were missing when Haloti Ngata was injured last year. If you need a defensive tackle to clog up space and occupy two blockers in the run game, Williams is your guy. If you need someone to deftly shoot a gap to apply pressure on the quarterback, Williams will……. clog up space……….. and be ready to occupy two blockers in the run game.
Williams has a specific skill set. He’s the kind of player that can dominate at times in short yardage situations and play a lot when the other team is trailing. When the other team is trying to kill the clock with running plays, having someone like Williams is a very good thing. When the other team is behind and throwing the ball a lot, Williams should be on the bench.
This was one of my favorite signings for Detroit because I felt like it shored up a position of need. This in’t going to fix the interior of the defense, but it adds a role player that can help the Lions navigate around their weaknesses. This also frees up a little bit of flexibility going into the 2018 NFL Draft. Haloti Ngata was an important part of the Lions defense when he was healthy. When he wasn’t, his presence was sorely missed. I don’t expect Sylvester Williams to have the same effect that Ngata had but I think that he will help minimize his loss.
Sylvester Williams brings little to nothing in the pass rush department but he should help eat up space and free up other defenders to make plays. That isn’t the type of impact you look for from a big time player but I think that as a role player, Sylvester Williams was a successful signing.
The Lions signed 29 year old nose tackle Sylvester Williams to a one year, $3.5 million dollar contract a few weeks ago. I don’t really have strong feelings either way about this contract. Williams isn’t very good, he will only be a defender who comes in on running downs, as he offers nothing in the pass rush department and is only really good at eating space. However, he didn’t really receive a large contract at all. For the role he will have with the Lions in 2018, it seems like a fair deal.
Last year, Williams was ranked as the 67th best interior defensive lineman in the NFL and received an average grade from Pro Football Focus. He made 28 tackles, while appearing in 15 games for the Tennessee Titans. Considering his contract, I am completely fine albeit underwhelmed with this signing. I don’t expect Williams to be an impact player for the Lions but he is not being paid like one.
Click HERE For A Comprehensive Database of the 2018 Free Agents