Linebacker Vince Williams just re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, extending his contract for another 3 years. While Williams isn’t mentioned among the stars of the team, and isn’t even a starter, he plays an important role for Pittsburgh’s future and has gone above and beyond expectations.
Since being drafted by the 6th round of 2013 NFL Draft out of Florida State, Vince Williams has slowly built his way up into a role as the go to backup at the linebacker position for Pittsburgh. With Ryan Shazier having already encountered a couple injuries throughout his short time as a pro, Williams has seen plenty of play, and has been very reliable when on the field.
His re-signing might not catch the eye of someone glancing through the top stories around the league, or even on the team, but it could be an instrumental signing in hindsight over the next couple of years.
Lawrence Timmons, long-time linebacker for the Steelers, has a contract ready to expire following the season. A veteran of the team, Timmons has been one of the key pieces of Pittsburgh’s defense since being drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Many have looked at the re-signing of Williams as a hint that the team might opt to let Timmons test free agency.
Timmons would be a huge loss for the Steelers, making the re-signing of Williams an extremely important piece for Pittsburgh’s future. Williams has proven to be reliable enough to start, and Pittsburgh clearly has that level of confidence in him.
His stats don’t jump off the paper, with only 143 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries, but in his case, the stats don’t exactly tell the story. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams is very good at making tackles, which is obviously a vital part of being a linebacker. In his 196 snaps last season, he only missed two tackles, and made 13 stops.
The one place where Williams can improve is his pass coverage. Williams allowed 11 completed passes out of 12, with one pass defense. Hopefully Williams will get plenty of snaps this season, and really make some strides this year. If he can improve his coverage skills, he can be a very well-rounded linebacker and an impact starter for Pittsburgh.
Williams is young, and has plenty of years to grow and become a valuable player for the Steelers. With Timmons into his 30s and counting a lot against the Pittsburgh salary cap, it’s definitely not a bad idea to prepare for the idea of life without him.
Vince Williams is by no means a flashy player, yet, but has proven to be a reliable backup, and a potentially impact starter if given the opportunity. His reliability combined with Ryan Shazier’s splash play potential could make for an interesting duo. If Williams can fix up a few things in his game, he can be a very good player down the road.