Michael Williams is from the small town of Reform, Alabama, which is about 30 miles outside of Tuscaloosa -- home to the University of Alabama.
Williams' first-ever plane ride was as a member of the Alabama football team. The first time he ever flew on a plane by himself? That was Wednesday evening when he flew to Detroit for a pre-draft visit with the Lions.
"A lot of people say this process is tiring or is a dragged-out process, but not for me," Williams said. "I enjoy every minute of it coming from a small town like Reform."
Detroit was Williams' first pre-draft visit, but he has two more scheduled, including Seattle next week.
There might not be a better blocking tight end available in next month's draft than Williams, who started 41 games during his Alabama career. He's also a very capable receiver at 6-foot-5, 278 pounds, though, and could help fill a vacant H-back role as a middle-to-late-round draft pick.
"People are going to mold you into a certain category when it comes to this process and that's the category they've put me in (blocking tight end) and I'm going to run with it," Williams told Detroitlions.com during his visit. "If they want me to be a blocking tight end, I'm going to be the best blocking tight end there is."
Williams had 16 receptions for 191 yards and two scores as a junior and 24 catches for 183 yards and four touchdowns this past season.
"I know they're looking at the film and seeing that at Alabama we didn't throw that many passes and didn't launch the ball down the field to the tight end," he said. "But we did throw intermediate passes, and I feel like as a tight end, I can do that.
"I feel I can do anything they need me to do. If it's me going out there and banging heads for 60 minutes, then that's me, I can do that."
The Lions are familiar with Williams having coached him at the Senior Bowl earlier this offseason. In that game, he caught two passes for 39 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown from Florida State quarterback E.J. Manual in the first quarter on a terrific catch against USC safety T.J. McDonald in the back of the end zone.
"Sometimes people don't appreciate guys that are really good blockers and really are great role players on their team," Alabama coach Nick Saban told AL.com in January when asked about Williams. "Some people would say he's not a big threat vertically down the field with his speed … (he is) tough physically, has good hands and can make plays."