Tim Williams could be poised for a breakout year with Ravens
By Cory Hughes
With training camp right around the corner, one of the many questions surrounding the defense is: Will Tim Williams be the problem on defense that he once was for Alabama?
Looking back on the 2016 college football season, SAM linebacker Tim Williams was one of the players that had scouts and fans buzzing. As the college season progressed many had the Alabama outside linebacker right behind Myles Garrett in the rankings in the pass rusher rankings. This was for good reason. He was a prospect with great hands, phenomenal speed and explosiveness to get around offensive tackles after his first few steps coming off the line. Mid-season he was one of those guys that had Ravens fans saying “There’s no way the team will be a in a position to draft him. He’s a top 10-12 guy for sure.”
After a misdemeanor gun charge in September of 2016 and then admitting he failed multiple drug tests, a month before the draft, a draft drop was very much-anticipated. But when the Ravens went on the clock with the 78th pick, I don’t think many people predicted that Williams would have dropped as far as he did. It was an easy decision for Ozzie Newsome and the front office. A gift of sorts. Being able to draft a player late in day two who in his last two seasons in the SEC accounted for 18.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss was a no-brainer.
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Most fans coming out of that draft couldn’t wait to watch and see what the Tide linebacker could do for Baltimore. The Ravens were a team that had just lost a playoff spot after giving up a touchdown in the last 90 seconds to a division rival. A lot of people might have even told you he was the rookie they were most excited to see in 2017.
After all the anticipation of seeing Williams impact the defense, its something every Baltimore fan was thinking throughout the season. What happened? Where in the world is Tim Williams? The linebacker struggled to even see the field, let alone make an impact that we all envisioned he would have on draft day. When he was on the field the way he was being used raised a lot of eye-brows. He was being dropped into coverage instead of consistently rushing the passer. And that’s not something you blame on the player, its something you blame on the coaching staff for using him in schemes that don’t fit his strengths. Now that Dean Pees is gone, hopefully coach Martindale will fix the way the team was using Williams and turn him loose and turn up the heat on opposing QBs.
Besides Matt Judon and a 36-year-old Terrell Suggs, the Ravens will be in desperate need of someone who can contribute to their pass rush. With a new defensive coordinator, who players are already calling aggressive, that someone could very well be Williams. Looking at his college highlights and game tapes at Alabama, if Martindale can be guy that holds the key to the lock that is Williams, the Ravens defense and their pass rush will fill a void they’ve been missing for quite some time.
The Bottom Line
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The Baltimore Ravens have always been an organization known for their defense. And the players that give offensive coordinators fits and headaches every time their team has to go up against them. Its been a while since they’ve had that one player that can change the way teams prepare to game plan for them. With the right coaching maybe Tim Williams could be that next guy.