The Detroit Lions drafted tight end Michael Williams in the seventh round this year mainly because of his skills as a blocker. With a need to replace Will Heller and find someone to take over the role Riley Reiff served as an H-back last year, the Lions elected to select Williams. He should be their third tight end, and he will primarily be used in situations where an extra blocker is necessary.
Williams' skills as a blocker have already led to former Lions tight end Charlie Sanders talking about the idea of him moving to offensive tackle in the future. Because of his size and ability to block, Sanders thinks it could be wise for him to move inside from tight end down the road.
Changing positions is far from Williams' concern at this time, though. Right now, he is trying to improve his receiving skills in order to be known for more than just his blocking. From the Lions' official site:
"I've grown tremendously, just through these 10 organized team activities and two mini-camps," said Williams. "I think my coaches see it – I see it - and I feel it. I feel myself coming out of breaks faster. I feel myself coming downhill when I get out of those breaks.
"It's those little things that make a route, or a route combination work. I feel like I've gotten 10 times better from when OTAs started."
We shouldn't sleep on Williams' ability to catch passes considering he had 24 receptions for 183 yards and 4 touchdowns in his final season at Alabama. He's not going to be one of the Lions' main targets by any means, but that's simply because it's not what his role is all about. Will Heller, for example, only had 23 targets last season, but he made the most of them by catching 17 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. What the Lions simply need out of Williams is excellent blocking and reliable hands when the ball is thrown his way.