While Za’Darius Smith isn’t aware of everything that made Tim Williams the newest member in the Packers’ locker room, he doesn’t seem to care much. For him, all that matters is that Williams is with the packers.
Earlier last week, Smith felt ecstatic like a New Hampshire sports betting fan, after discovering that Green Bay had signed his former Baltimore Ravens teammate. The move adds another familiar face in the outside linebacker’s room packed with talent and upside. Smith said it was a fresh start for Williams and promised to take him under his wing, something he has always tried to do.
Being a fourth-round pick for the 2015 roster, Smith didn’t arrive in Baltimore together with Williams, who was third in 2017. However, they both had a similar upbringing in the pass-rushing fraternity of the Ravens. The two were understudies of Terrell Suggs, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
Being a situational rusher in the first three NFL seasons, Smith got into the starting lineup for the Ravens last season. He responded by setting career highs of 8.5 sacks and 45 tackles. This season, William seemed ready to climb the Ravens’ hierarchy since Smith has signed with the Packers, while Suggs left for Arizona in March.
The 252-pound linebacker only recorded 79 defensive snaps in his first four games with the Ravens before being waved on Tuesday. His career in Baltimore ended with two sacks and 18 tackles in 19 games. This release caught Williams off guard, though he was thrilled to know he had landed in Green Bay after waiting for the 24-hour waiver period.
According to Williams, he’s happy that the Packers are getting the sacks up there, with Smith playing more freely than ever before. To him, it’s always an advantage to have a former teammate on the team, seeing that he already has three sacks. Williams is ready to attack the playbook, looking for where he fits since all he wants to do is play.
Fortunately for Williams, Smith isn’t his only supporter in Green Bay. Williams played with Packers punter JK Scott and cornerback Tony Brown at Alabama. The Packers director of football operations Milt Hendrickson also formed part of the front office in Baltimore where he was drafted in the third round over two years ago.
By the beginning of the2017 draft, Williams was among the top pure pass rushers of his class following his decorated career in Alabama. During the time, he won a national title, registering 19.5 sacks in his last two collegiate seasons.
Though things didn’t work out in Baltimore, Williams’ explosiveness and natural bend make him a great fit for the Packers. This linebacker is exactly what they need for the heavy dime packages being delivered by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Packers are well-sorted at outside linebacker with veteran Kyler Fackrell and rookie Rashan Garry who was their first-round pick. That should help Williams ease into Pettine’s program.
Williams attended padded practice on Thursday at the Hutson Center where he revealed that he’s open to playing on special teams as he continues getting familiar with his new surroundings.