The Detroit Lions got off to a fast start Friday, beginning the free agent signing period with a trade.
“Corey is going to be a great addition to our defense; he’s a very solid run-defender,” said General Manager Martin Mayhew. “Also, what I like about him most is his ability to rush – he’s a really good pass rusher.
“That was an area where I thought we really struggled last year and Corey is going to help us there. I think he’s going to be a big part of our defense this year.”
Williams was originally selected by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He was franchised by the Packers in 2008 before they ultimately traded him to the Cleveland Browns for a second-round pick.
As a defensive tackle in a 4-3 system with the Packers, Williams accrued 17.0 sacks over four seasons, including 7.0 in each of his last two (2006-07).
He was moved to defensive end in a 3-4 system with the Browns, recording 0.5 sacks in 2008 and 4.0 sacks in 2009.
“I played end the whole time in Cleveland,” said Williams. “My bread and butter is playing inside, but they had me playing outside.”
Williams will bring more push to the Lions’ defensive front after Detroit struggled there last season.
Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham’s system is meant to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage, getting to the quarterback being the No. 1 priority.
Adding a player like Williams to the interior line should not only help that push up front, but it could also keep opponent quarterbacks from stepping up in the pocket – in turn helping Detroit’s defensive ends.
“With my ability to rush the passer and to play the run, I think I fit in real good,” said Williams. “(A system like this is) what I’ve been waiting on. Now I’ve got a chance to really just get off the ball and show my ability.”
Even when Williams was in Green Bay playing in a 4-3 system, he was in a different type of defense than what Detroit currently plays.
“We were getting off the ball but we were getting off the ball playing the block and then getting to the quarterback,” said Williams. “Here, you’re getting off (the ball), playing the run to the quarterback. So it’s a little different.”
Williams is ready to get back to his old self in Detroit. He is in the kind of system that gives him the best chance to showcase his skills.
“Everything (at defensive tackle happens) a lot quicker,” he said. “Everything is a lot quicker than it is at end. There’s less thinking. I’m the type of player – I like to just go. I don’t like to think, I like to go.”