Terry Williams Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener


Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series continues with a profile of rookie nose tackle, #73 Terry Williams. That means there are only 73 more days until the Chicago Bears open the regular season against the rival Green Bay Packers.

Williams wasn’t drafted and wasn’t even signed during the priority undrafted free agent portion of the draft, but got an invite to the Bears rookie mini-camp and earned a 3-year rookie minimum contract. He is a massive, 2-gap NT from East Carolina who is affectionately known as “The Swamp Monster”. He flashed NFL ability in college, just not often enough to warrant a draft pick apparently. With so few true 2-gap NTs, I was pretty sure Williams would be drafted on day 3 at the latest. He does have some off-field red flags with a few weed suspensions but his tape was impressive enough that I thought he would be drafted.

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One reason Williams may have been bypassed during the draft is that his college career was very inconsistent. If you watch Williams against Virginia Tech (2013 & 2104), North Carolina, and Temple, he looks like a beast who would have warranted a day 2 pick. He showed the ability to stack and shed blockers, to generate interior pressure, two impressive pass rush moves (spin, arm-over), and a surprising motor for a 350 pounder. Other games, usually against weaker competition, he was a non-factor who looked like he had no shot at the NFL. Two suspensions didn’t help his cause either, but the talent is there for Williams to make the final 53-man roster and have an impact on Sundays.

What to Expect from Williams in 2015

With the Bears transitioning to a 3-4 scheme, they need a few nose tackles who can occupy blockers in the middle of the line and free up the linebackers to make plays. The Bears used a 2nd round pick on NT Eddie Goldman who is projected to be the starter, but they have little depth behind Goldman at the position. Veteran DT Jay Ratliff doesn’t have the bulk to be a 2-gap player inside and would be better off at the RE (Justin Smith) position in Fangio’s scheme. 2014’s 2nd round pick Ego Ferguson could bulk up a little and play NT, but he had trouble with double teams as a rookie, ending up on his back-side way too often. Ferguson may be a better fit as a 5-tech DE, which would leave a spot open for Williams as a backup NT.

Playing limited snaps in a rotation may be the best fit for Williams, allowing him to go all out in short bursts and use his surprising quickness to disrupt interior blockers. If he can keep himself out of trouble, his weight under control, and his effort level consistent… Williams could be a factor inside and significantly improve the Bears run defense.

Next: Which Bears Made the 2015 All-NFC North Team?

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