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4 things to know about new Lions defensive tackle Sylvester Williams

Learning some new stuff about the Lions newest defensive tackle

Tennessee Titans v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Welcome back to 4 questions, Detroit Lions fans. I hope you had a great holiday weekend. I know I enjoyed spending time with the family, but when Monday came around, it was time to get back on the road. This time, I would be going to territory that I’m already familiar with.

What’s the one thing the Lions needed this offseason besides a run game? If you guessed a lifetime supply of pork rinds, that’s extremely wrong and I think you’re reading my mind. But if you said a pass rush, you were spot on.

Despite the lack of a run game, the Lions offense still functions. The Lions defensive line, however, was a barren wasteland that allowed any quarterback the time to do just about anything and could revitalize the career of any running back in the game. So it made sense to everyone that the Lions would target this area hard.

After Ndamukong Suh, Dontari Poe and others were off the board, the Lions landed on Sylvester Williams, which sent me on trip back to my old place of living: Tennessee. It was there that I set up my spot at Great Stage Park for Bonnaroo 2018 several months ahead of time.

I also met Titans Wire’s Kyle Madson there, too, and boy did he have a few things to say about Sylvester Williams. Strap in Lions fans. This is gonna be a bumpy ride.

POD: What are your overall thoughts on Williams time in Tennessee?

TW: “Williams was a disappointment in every sense of the word. He never lived up to being a first-round pick and Tennessee thought they could find some untapped talent Denver couldn’t. That was not the case. His three-year contract and subsequent release after one season is the first major mistake of Titans general manager Jon Robinson’s tenure.“

POD: What are his strengths?

TW: “This is a dynamite question. He’s strong and has good size. Williams is capable of anchoring a 3-4 defensive line when he’s playing at his best. He can eat a couple blockers and push the pocket against the pass. That’s all in theory, though. Teams may get this version of Williams maybe for a handful of snaps over the course of a season.”

POD: What are his weaknesses?

TW: “His biggest weakness is the inability to do anything he should be good at with any consistency. He just isn’t very good. He’s played five NFL seasons and has never produced at a high level for any prolonged period of time. He’s just a guy. He isn’t necessarily a liability, but he isn’t going to elevate a defensive line either.”

POD: Can Williams make a large impact in Detroit? Or is he better served as a role player?

TW: “Detroit is in trouble if they’re planning on deploying Williams in a base defense. He’s a rotational guy at best who can give the starters a breather for a few snaps a game. He only played about 32 percent of the Titans defensive snaps last season, and they were pretty thin along the defensive front. He started 11 of 15 games and tallied 20 tackles and no sacks. There were snaps there for the taking and he was unable to work his way into a significant role. I would imagine he finds a similar niche in Detroit.”

So that’s not at all what any Lions fan wanted to hear. Should you be worried? Yeah, you probably should. At this point in time, the Lions interior defensive line is looking quite bare. Perhaps the Lions will be looking to pin their hopes on a rookie, or maybe they’ll scrounge up some cap room to make a run at Johnathan Hankins? We can only hope.

As far as Williams goes, it looks as though he may be another one of Bob Quinn’s reclamation projects, much like DJ Hayden was in 2017. Hayden did show some improvement, but he wasn’t given as big of a role as Williams is currently expected to assume. So, yeah, be a little concerned.

Thanks to Kyle Madson and everyone over at Titans Wire. If you’re looking for Titans news, these are the guys to follow.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.