A day after visiting with the Washington Redskins, free agent nose tackle Sylvester Williams signed a deal with the Detroit Lions. This is actually good news for the Redskins.
As quickly as the Redskins courtship of Sylvester Williams began, it ended. Just a day after bringing in the nose tackle for a visit, Williams has signed with another NFL team, per Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. Williams will join the Detroit Lions on what appears to be a one-year deal.
For the Lions, adding Williams to their defensive line is a somewhat sensible move. New head coach Matt Patricia knows what it’s like to operate with a lack of depth on the defensive line, as was the case for him last year in the New England. So, the team inked Williams and Ricky Jean-Francois in hopes of adding depth and talent to that unit. Interestingly, the team also brought Johnathan Hankins in for a visit, but they opted to sign two cheaper players for depth purposes. This is exactly what the Redskins did last season.
Speaking of the Redskins, being out on the Williams sweepstakes could actually be a good thing. Williams wasn’t all that much of an upgrade at the nose tackle position, and the only thing about him that would be better than Ziggy Hood is that Williams is a natural nose tackle while Hood is more of a 3-4 end type player. Here’s my analysis of Williams’ ability from a recent piece on his meeting with the Redskins.
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"Simply put, Williams is a decent lineman. He doesn’t rush the passer very much, as evidenced by his 5.5 sacks in five seasons. His only value comes from his ability to stuff the run, and even in that category, he is merely okay. Last season, Williams had only 20 total tackles for the Titans. He was good at occupying blockers, but he wasn’t a high impact player. He was rated the No. 67 defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus, so that means he is just an average player at best."
Because Williams was just average, it made little sense to bring him on. Unless an elite defensive back like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James falls to them at No. 13, the team will likely spend their selection on Da’Ron Payne or Vita Vea. The two nose tackles figure to be top 20 picks, as they are a couple of the best defensive line prospects in the draft. That would be the best route for the Redskins, and letting Williams go was a sensible move as a result.
Now, we wait to see what the result of Johnathan Hankins’ free agency is. Hopefully he signs with the Redskins, but as it stands, the Redskins could be done making moves for now. Either way, keep an eye on him and the team as the second week of free agency continues onward.