TE Michael Williams good fit for the Lions' vacant H-back spot

Posted Apr 27, 2013

The Lions are confident Williams will be good in the short and intermediate pass game and can do all the movement blocking they ask their H-back to do

Michael WilliamsTE Michael Williams (Photo: AP Images)
New Detroit Lions tight end Michael Williams considers himself a "traditional" kind of tight end.

"In today’s game, a lot of people get caught up with tight ends doing more of the receiving part of it," Williams told local reporters in a conference call after the Lions selected him in the seventh round of Saturday’s NFL Draft.

"Sometimes they forget about the blocking end of it. I’m looking to try and bring that back."

Williams is a block-first tight end who seems like a terrific fit for the Lions’ vacant H-back role. The Lions have used Will Heller and Riley Reiff in their H-back (or moving tight end) role over the last couple years, but Reiff is expected to start at left tackle this year and Heller remains a free agent.

"I just like playing the tight end position. The way I learned, the first thing you have to know is how to block," Williams said. "That’s just how I was taught and that’s just how I live. Blocking just became part of me."

It’s not all blocking with Williams, though. He does have some short and intermediate receiving skills. He had 16 receptions for 191 yards and two scores as a junior at Alabama and 24 catches for 183 yards and four touchdowns this past season.

"He has a extremely high football IQ," said Lions tight ends coach Bobby Johnson. "The kid started four years at Alabama and they could not replace him. If you talk to the coaches at Alabama, they say the hardest guy to replace in their offense is Michael Williams."

Johnson and the Lions were able to get a close look at Williams coaching him for a week down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

"Outstanding blocker," Johnson said of Williams. "He did a lot of off-the-ball stuff and stuff in the backfield that you don’t see guys 6-foot-7, 270 pounds doing.

"He’s an exceptional run blocker. He’s a big body. He can still develop into an even better blocker. He’s such a massive person he can cover you up at worst.

Johnson admitted that Williams has a few deficiencies in the passing game in that he isn’t going to be a down-the-field threat, but will be good in the short and intermediate pass game. He can do all the movement blocking the Lions ask their H-back to do.

On a lighter note, both Williams and Johnson joked that Williams would prefer to be called Michael instead of Mike, because of the history the Lions have in drafting players named Mike Williams (10th overall in 2005).

"First, we had to set the record straight on players named Mike Williams drafted by the Lions," Johnson said. "So, he is Michael Williams, and if you refer to him as Mike, it has to be preceded with 'big' Mike."