Eagles Protect ‘Soft-Spoken Monster’ for Defensive Line Depth

Raequan Williams

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

Injuries to Malik Jackson (quadriceps) and Hassan Ridgeway (biceps) have put a premium on defensive line depth in Philadelphia. So the Eagles protected two defensive tackles on their practice squad to bolster the unit, including veteran T.Y. McGill and undrafted rookie Raequan Williams. They also saved undrafted rookie safety Grayland Arnold and veteran guard Jamon Brown, making all four players unavailable for other teams to poach.

The fact these four players are protected doesn’t necessarily mean the Eagles will move them up to the active roster, but they remain emergency options. In the case of McGill and Williams, it seems likely at least one of them will be called up due to limited bodies in the defensive tackle rotation.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has been known for rotating guys in and out and mentioned McGill by name in his media availability.

“T.Y. has played a couple games for us this year and has given us some quality snaps,” Schwartz told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ll just see where we get to on Sunday with the rest of those guys, but obviously it’s an important position for us. It will probably put more snaps on guys like Fletch [Fletcher Cox] or [Javon] Hargrave or Malik when he gets back healthy.”

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Williams Brings ‘Monster’ Reputation from College

Williams, who started 42 consecutive games at nose tackle for Michigan State, anchored the No. 1 rush defense in the country in 2017 and finished No. 2 in 2018. The 6-foot-4, 303-pounder finished his college career with 160 tackles (29 for loss) and 11.5 sacks in 50 games.

According to Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal, Williams was known for being an “unrelenting mass of athleticism, strength and quiet professionalism.” Until he puts the pads on and hits you in the mouth.

“In football, I’ve got my helmet on and I can hit you every play, so I don’t have to say anything,” Williams told the newspaper in 2018. “A lot of people do talk to me and when they realize I’m just not going to say anything, I guess they try to become friends at that point.”

The Chicago native was an all-state player coming out of high school and twice earned All-Big Ten first-team honors for the Spartans. He became only the second player in Michigan State history to win the school’s Iron Man Award for three straight years, thanks to owning the longest starting streak by a position player.

Best Undrafted Free Agent for Eagles

Bleacher Report selected Williams as the “Best Undrafted Free Agent” on the Eagles’ roster back in July. He had a quiet training camp — as many rookies did due to the odd COVID-19 restrictions — and was released on roster cut-down day. Williams landed on the team’s practice squad upon clearing waivers within a few hours. He’s yet to appear in a regular-season game.

One other note on Williams: the hulking defensive tackle would like to run for mayor of Chicago one day. And he graduated from Michigan State with a degree in advertising management.

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