Detroit Lions sign frequently traveled defensive tackle Nick Williams

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions have been quite busy to open the NFL free agency period.  Along with adding a couple of starters, Bob Quinn has started to fill out his roster with some depth and backup players.

The Detroit Lions are in the midst of re-tooling both of their offensive and defensive lines.  Recently the Detroit Lions signed right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai from the Philadelphia Eagles along with linebacker Jamie Collins; another New England Patriots offspring.  Both are expected to step right in and start for Detroit.

In addition, Bob Quinn has started to fill out his roster with backups and depth players.  The Lions have brought in a pair of former Chicago Bears, Nick Williams, and Chase Daniel.

First, Detroit signed the widely traveled interior defensive lineman Nick Williams.  Williams is coming off of the best year of his career.  The first red flag that shows up on Williams’ resume is the fact that the Lions will be his fifth NFL organization as he enters his sixth season.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers had initially drafted Williams in the seventh round with the 223rd pick in the 2013 NFL draft.  He stands 6’4 and plays around 300 pounds, a bit light for a Matt Patricia nose tackle.  Usually, Patricia likes to have a nose tackle that clogs the middle of the defensive front, someone that generally weighs in around 340 pounds.  Think of Vince Wilfork.

That being said, I don’t expect Williams to be Damon Harrison or A’Shawn Robinson‘s replacement, he’s more of a Mike Daniels‘ type.  Williams is a 30-year-old journeyman, after not playing a snap with the Steelers, Williams found himself with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014.  He played a total of one snap.  In 2015, Williams played 183 snaps creating 7 pressures and 7 tackles.

During the 2016 season, Williams totaled 84 snaps between K.C. and the Miami Dolphins coming up with just 7 tackles and 1 pressure.  It was much of the same in 2017 during his first year in Chicago.  Williams played 44 snaps, failed to make a tackle, and had just one quarterback pressure.

Finally, in 2019 with the Bears, Williams emerged as a useful rotational lineman.  He played 532 snaps with Chicago creating 21 total hurries and recorded the first six sacks of his career.  Williams also batted two balls and totaled a career-high 35 tackles.

Williams produced an overall grade of 67.7 according to Pro Football Focus (PFF) last season, as you can imagine by far the best of his career.  That included a decent 67.8 rating while defending the run, along with 62.6 as a pass rusher.

Detroit awarded Williams with a two-year, $10 million deal.  After examining his past, it’s a very hefty payday for a rotational player with a very spotty career performance.  This is not a great addition by Bob Quinn.

I expect the Detroit Lions to consider a reunion with A’Shawn Robinson along with perhaps kicking the tires on Danny Shelton or Michael Pierce over the next day or two to complete the defensive line rotation.  Recently, D.J. Reader, Javon Hargrave, and Jordan Phillips all players we’ve mentioned recently as Detroit’s top targets have signed elsewhere.

Related Story. Signing Halapoulivaati Vaitai comes with plenty of risk. light

By not signing one of the players above, this may indicate that the Lions will be shifting their focus to Auburn’s Derrick Brown with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft.