The Detroit Lions filled one of their biggest remaining needs on Wednesday by signing defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.
Williams, 29, helps fill the void left by Haloti Ngata's departure to Philadelphia in free agency. Williams adds a veteran, run-stopping element to the interior of Detroit's defensive line as he joins A'Shawn Robinson, Akeem Spence, Jeremiah Ledbetter and Christian Ringo in the defensive tackle rotation.
"I like the town, it's a blue-collar town and that's the kind of guy I am," Williams said in a conference call Wednesday on why he chose to sign with the Lions.
View photos of defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. Photos: Associated press.
"Just coming here and meeting with coach (Matt) Patricia and hearing him talk. Me and him talked for about 30 minutes and just how family-oriented he is and how family-oriented he wants things to be around here and the type of grind and hard work we're going to put in, I got excited about that."
Williams' strengths are certainly geared toward defending the run, where he was a plus-graded defender in that department by Pro Football Focus last season. He played in 15 games (11 starts) with Tennessee a season ago, and recorded 20 tackles.
Detroit allowed nearly 130 yards per game on the ground over the last 11 games of the season last year after losing Ngata to a bicep injury. They were in need of adding a run defender in the middle.
"I think one of the things I'm looking forward to bring (to Detroit) is my ability to play the run and be stout in the middle," Williams said.
"I'm looking forward to being able to come in and make some plays."
A former first-round selection (28th overall) by the Broncos in 2013, Williams has played in 75 career games (59 starts) with 114 total tackles (79 solo), six sacks, two passes defended and one fumble recovery.
He's also played in nine postseason contests, and was part of Denver's Super Bowl 50 win over Carolina following the 2015 season.