Za’Darius Smith doesn’t know why things didn’t work out for Tim Williams in Baltimore, and it’s not a concern. For him, all that matters is that Williams is now his Packers’ teammate.
If Smith were a betting man, he would have wagered that Williams would be further along in his career by now. Speaking of wagering, the week 1 NFL odds are now live and The Packers are favored against Minnesota in their opening game of the season. I can’t argue with the oddsmakers on this one, Green Bay deserves to hold the advantage.
Despite the slow start to Williams’ career, Smith has expressed excitement that Green Bay had signed his former Baltimore Ravens teammate. He called it a fresh start for Williams and promised to take him under his wing, something he has always tried to do with younger players..
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 in 2019. He responded by setting career highs of 8.5 sacks and 45 tackles. This past season, Williams seemed ready to climb the Ravens’ hierarchy since Smith had 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 waived 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 out the 24-hour waiver period.
According to Williams, it’s always an advantage to have a former teammate on the team. 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 at Alabama. Also, the Packers director of football operations Milt Hendrickson was a member of the Ravens front office that drafted Williams in the third round three years ago.
By the beginning of the 2017 draft, Williams was among the top pure pass rushers of his class following his decorated career in Alabama. During that 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 the type of player needed for the heavy dime packages being delivered by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. That should help Williams ease into Pettine’s program.