With the addition of Eric Ebron in the first round of this year's draft, the Detroit Lions had a bit of a logjam at tight end. Ebron is obviously going to make the 53-man roster, as is Brandon Pettigrew, who re-signed on a new four-year deal this offseason. Also, the Lions aren't going to get rid of Joseph Fauria, who caught 7 touchdowns as an undrafted rookie in 2013.
With no real room on the 53-man roster at tight end for Michael Williams, who is entering his second season in the NFL, the Lions decided to move him to offensive tackle. The position change was announced on Wednesday, and now Williams will compete for the fourth spot at offensive tackle with J.B. Shugarts and undrafted free agent Cornelius Lucas.
Williams actually spent his rookie season on injured reserve after breaking his hand in the preseason. That injury opened the door for Fauria to make the Lions' 53-man roster last year, and Williams spent the season on the sideline. This year, it's possible that Williams could spend the season on the practice squad considering he is going to be a bit of a project at offensive tackle. When the Lions drafted him as a tight end in the seventh round last year, Williams' blocking was consistently praised, but it will take some time to adjust to a completely new position.
Interestingly enough, former Lions tight end Charlie Sanders actually suggested this idea last June. He figured that based on Williams' size at the time, molding him into an offensive tackle might make sense later in his career. With the logjam at tight end and Williams now at 6-foot-5 and 278 pounds, the Lions decided that it made sense to go ahead and switch his position this offseason, and their tackle depth has been improved as a result.