Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Rashan Gary are already penciled in as the top three pass rushers for the Green Bay Packers for their 2020 NFL season. But with the role of the fourth rusher opening up with the offseason departure of Kyler Fackrell to the New York Giants, there are a few players that are being looked at as potential role fillers for that.
Former Alabama Crimson Tide and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tim Williams is the likeliest of in-house options, seeing as how his familiarity with DC Mike Pettine’s scheme (having been signed in 2019). For Williams, his pedigree was seen as a leading trait for his success in the league, having played under Nick Saban.
The Ravens love their pipeline from the Crimson Tide, as Marlon Humphrey and Mark Ingram II both came to Baltimore as being former Alabama football players. But Williams unfortunately never panned out, as a combination of not living up to his draft status and being behind other players on the depth chart.
But the Packers picked Williams up for a reason, as his age and potential still are in the sweet spot for a low-cost, high-impact addition. And with the team needing to find some bargain-bin options, Williams fits that bit perfectly.
While the role has not been handed over to Williams for sure, both of the Smith Bros have spoken glowingly about the impact that Williams could have on the defensive front, which would in turn give them some time off to refuel up.
The other main sign of competition for this role is 2020 draft pick Jonathan Garvin, who fell to the seventh round and GB was happy to take him. As parts of their draft ended up on the ‘questionable’ side of the gamut, the addition of Garvin could eventually become the steak of the draft.
The former Florida Gator defensive end was a force for opposing offensive lines to handle, yet he fell to the final round of the draft due to questions about his motor and production, which took a bit of a tumble in the ‘19 season.
Garvin produced career highs in tackles (60), tackles for loss (17), and sacks (5.5) in 2018, and while his sack numbers only differed by one-half sack, his tackle and TFL numbers took a bit of a dip, leading to him falling in the draft. He did end up producing the fourth-highest TFL total in the ACC in ‘18, showcasing that he has a nose for the backfield.
Williams is the more polished player, and his 320 career defensive stats, albeit not very large for a player that was drafted in the third round in 2017, means that he is still quite fresh and able to produce. With the expectation of the fourth pass rusher role to help give the Smiths a breather or two, Williams would be an excellent fit in a role that comes with low expectations, which he could blow out of the water if everything came together.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23