The Lions were supposed to be set at linebacker entering the season with DeAndre Levy, Kyle Van Noy and Tahir Whitehead. That shouldn’t have left a lot of playing time for Antwione Williams this season and that was reflected in the high and low scenarios I saw ahead.
"Best-case scenario: Turns into a special teams standout during his rookie year with good reports coming out of practice about his development to contribute on defense down the line. Worst-case scenario: Limited special teams contributions as a rookie and doesn’t give confidence he can earn snaps at linebacker in the future."
With Levy missing another big chunk of a season and the plug pulled on the Van Noy experiment, Williams was able to see more than just special teams action as a rookie.
Williams wasn’t a special teams ace but didn’t have to be with other players showing out in that role. It remains to be seen how much of an impact player he can be on defense, but getting some experience as a rookie is good and Williams’ presence figures to have at least played a small part in the decision to ship out Van Noy. Williams saw his most consistent playing time on defense in the weeks that followed the trade.