5 Washington players whose stock is soaring after Week 11
By Jerry Trotta
3. James Smith-Williams
James Smith-Williams was thrust into a prominent role after Montez Sweat landed on injured reserve with a jaw fracture. With Chase Young injured in Week 10, though, Smith-Williams’ playing time has nearly doubled.
On Sunday, the 2020 seventh-rounder made his presence felt. He was immense in containing Cam Newton on zone reads. The former MVP’s touchdown scamper unsurprisingly came off the left side of the line, opposite Smith-Williams.
For the game, Smith-Williams posted six tackles (one for loss) and a half sack. Pretty rare that a player who’s doing all the dirty work is properly reflected in the box score, but the second-year pro managed to defy the odds. According to PFF, he finished with an elite 72.0 run defense grade and a 73.1 tackling grade.
Smith-Williams will obviously never supplant Sweat or Young in the starting lineup, but he proved yet again on Sunday that he can be dependable as a backup. Let’s hope he continues to produce without the two star edge rushers.