With the fourth edge-rusher spot up for grabs on this Green Bay Packers team, it sounds like Tim Williams is the front runner for the job.
When it comes to the edge-rusher position with the Green Bay Packers, they are in excellent shape. Led by Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, who combined for 25.5 sacks and 167 total pressures in 2019, along with former 12th overall pick Rashan Gary who will see more action this season, the first three spots on the roster are all but covered.
However, with Kyler Fackrell now with the New York Giants, the fourth edge-rusher spot is up for grabs this summer. And the Packers have several young and talented options to choose from.
Randy Ramsey and Greg Roberts spent 2019 on the practice squad becoming familiar with the Mike Pettine defense, while this offseason, the Packers added two highly productive rookies in Tipa Galeai and Jonathan Garvin.
While each player has a case as to why they should be on the Packers’ Week 1 roster, Tim Williams was specifically mentioned by Preston Smith in a Zoom call with reporters earlier this week.
Now, perhaps this is just me trying to read the tea leaves, but when asked about him and Za’Darius taking a few less snaps this season in order to give each of them a break from time to time, Preston, of course, mentioned Gary having to play a bigger role, but out of all the other edge-rushers, Williams was the only other name brought up:
“…us being fresher and having guys like Rashan Gary and Tim Williams step up in bigger roles this year is going to help us stay fresh.”
Take it as you will, and no, other than walkthroughs, Preston hasn’t really been on the field with Garvin or Galeai, but NFL players know right away who can and can’t play. Now, this isn’t to say that Ramsey and Roberts can’t play, but Williams has clearly stuck out.
As a former third-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2017 draft, Williams was a productive player coming out of Alabama. In his final two years that spanned 25 games, William would total 49 tackles, 27.5 of which were for a loss, along with 18.5 sacks.
Unfortunately, now entering his fourth NFL season, Williams hasn’t lived up to his draft stock. In three seasons, he has been on the field for only 320 total defensive snaps and has recorded two sacks, five quarterback hits, with 11 solo tackles.
Specifically, in Green Bay last season, Williams spent most of the year on the practice squad but did take 75 snaps and logged five pressures with two tackles. However, despite the small sample size, his explosiveness stood out to Matt LaFleur right away (via Packers Wire):
“What I saw today, obviously a really good athlete. He’s explosive,” LaFleur said in October. “He was a really good pass rusher coming out of Alabama. Just a really good talent. ‘Z’ was with him in Baltimore, so we have some familiarity in that regard.”
Ultimately, what takes place on the practice field in the coming weeks is going to be the deciding factor in who is the fourth edge-rusher on this Green Bay Packers team. But based on Preston Smith’s comments, I’d say Tim Williams is the front runner for the job.