Michigan State DT Named Eagles’ Best Undrafted Free Agent

Raequan Williams

Getty Former Michigan State DT Raequan Williams is an intriguing player to watch at Eagles training camp.

The Eagles have a logjam at defensive tackle, but they might need to clear some lumber for a certain undrafted rookie free agent.

Michigan State’s Raequan Williams went undrafted despite finishing with 48 total tackles (7.5 for loss), five sacks and two passes defensed in 2019. He red-shirted his freshman year and went on to play in 50 games for the Spartans, including making 42 consecutive starts at nose tackle. At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, Williams is both durable and versatile.

The Chicago native has been praised for his ability to rush the quarterback — 11.5 career sacks in college — but he was also crucial in stopping the run, especially in 2018 when Michigan State allowed a miserly 77.9 yards per game, tops in the country.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently ranked the best undrafted free agent for every team at training camp. He picked Williams as the standout player on the Eagles:

The Philadelphia Eagles may have lucked out when former Michigan State defensive end Raequan Williams fell to them outside of the draft. The 6’4″, 305-pound Williams has the size of a more traditional down lineman, but he has shown the sort of penetration power that teams covet at the position.

In 2019, Williams had 48 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and two passes defended. Williams also proved durable, starting 42 consecutive games.

The Eagles were impressed enough by Williams to offer him $100,000 guaranteed, per Spotrac.

If Williams doesn’t crack the 53-man roster, he will have a good chance of landing elsewhere.

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Williams Has Big Dreams Beyond Football

Williams should easily be the feel-good story of training camp, with a chance to be a real fan favorite in Philly. The 23-year-old was a dominating force on the field at Michigan State, a team captain and player Spartans coach Mark Dantonio called an “anchor guy.”

The numbers speak for themselves: 160 tackles (29 for loss), 11.5 sacks in 50 career games. More than that, Williams was a stud in the classroom where he received a bachelor’s degree in advertising management. His work ethic was unmatched, per Dantonio, and knowing what he had to overcome to get to the NFL makes Williams’ positivity unbelievable.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Williams watched two “brothers” — a blood brother and a cousin he grew up with — get murdered in the span of 17 months in the streets of Chicago. The first murder (cousin Antonio Pollards, 18) happened on Jan. 13, 2016. The second one (brother Corey Hill Jr., 16) occurred on June 7, 2017. Williams wanted to leave Michigan State and return home to help his family cope, but he carried on and used the pain as motivation.

“Rae wanted to stop,” Latasha Williams said, of her son, via the Detroit Free Press. “He was ready to come back. I told him, ‘No, it’s gotta motivate you more, so you do what you gotta do. Don’t let this stop you. Take it out on the field.’”

Not only did he go on to finish his college career, Williams was one of the best defensive players to ever play at Michigan State. His 29 tackles tied for 16th-most in school history, plus he became only the second player in MSU history to win the team’s Iron Man Award three consecutive seasons.

Now he’s trying to earn a coveted spot on the Eagles’ 53-man roster. But, when all is said and done, don’t be surprised if he returns to Chicago and makes a serious mayoral run.

“I mean, maybe, one day,” Williams told the Detroit Free Press about running for mayor. “I see myself going back to the neighborhood where I was raised, showing kids a different way. I can see myself giving back to my community. That’s something I’m really passionate about.”

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