Packers Add Another Top 30 Visit With Ole Miss DE: Report

Williams Packers Visit

Getty Sam Williams #7 of the Mississippi Rebels tackles Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals during the first half of the Chick-fil-A Kick-Off Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 06, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Green Bay Packers have another Top 30 visit lined up with an early-round prospect in next month’s 2022 NFL draft.

Former Ole Miss edge rusher Sam Williams recently told 247Sports’ Inside The Rebels that he is scheduled to have a Top 30 visit with the Packers and will also meet with the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons before the draft begins on April 27. According to Williams, he also met with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins earlier this month.

The Packers will have both of their starting edge rushers — Preston Smith and Rashan Gary — back for the 2022 season, but they are also losing Za’Darius Smith, Whitney Mercilus and Chauncey Rivers from the room and could stand to add another talented piece in the draft. The Draft Network ranks Williams as the No. 73 overall prospect and the 13th-best edge rusher in the class, while ESPN rates Williams at No. 139 overall.

According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, the Packers were also scheduled to have a Top 30 visit with Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks after meeting with him at the NFL Scouting Combine during the first week in March. The Packers also met with two wide receivers — Alabama’s Jameson Williams and Ohio State’s Chris Olave — at the Combine as well as Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum and Liberty quarterback Malis Willis, per Walter Football’s prospect meetings tracker.

The Packers have four of the first 60 selections in the 2022 draft and 11 picks overall, giving them more ammunition than usual to move around with trades if they choose. They do have more important needs for next year’s roster, though, with big holes to fill at both wide receiver and offensive lineman.

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What Are Analysts Saying About Williams?

For the most part, draft analysts seem to agree that Williams could come off the board in the first three rounds of next month’s draft. He isn’t quite polished enough to project as an instant starter in the NFL, but he has raw pass-rushing talent that makes him a talent worth developing for any team in need of young edge rushers.

Here’s what Drae Harris, a senior NFL draft analyst for The Draft Network, wrote about Williams in his pre-draft profile:

He took a major step in 2021 and taking advantage of the extra year has seemingly done wonders for his game. In the run game, he is heavy at the point of attack and can set the edge. He has improved with regards to emotional endurance and pursuit when plays are run away from him. The passing game is where he thrives. He has improved his get-off from 2020 to 2021. He is good at converting speed to power to win in the edge and is strong enough to defeat double teams when he is in 4i or 5-technique. While he has also improved with regards to counters, he still isn’t the most loose-hipped athlete on the edge and it shows in these instances. I believe he has the schematic versatility to align in a 4-3 as a DE or play OLB in a 3-4.

Lance Zierlein, the resident draft analyst for NFL.com, was a little more critical of Williams, praising his abilities as a pass rusher but worrying about his failings against the run game. He wrote that Williams was “often overmatched and pummeled at the point of attack, failing to play with the effort and grit needed to stand up to SEC linemen.” Nonetheless, he also projects he could become a “potentially dangerous sub-package rusher” at the NFL level — which suits the Packers’ current needs nicely.


Will Williams’ 2020 Incident Dissuade Packers?

As a football player, Williams checks a lot of the boxes that could entice one of the NFL’s 32 teams to draft him at the end of next month. He has produced a good amount of quality tape over his three seasons at Ole Miss and has done everything he can on the field to earn his right to compete for a spot on a pro roster. Unfortunately, there is a glaring mark on his resume when it comes to off-the-field conduct.

Williams was arrested in July 2020 on a felony charge of sexual battery and was immediately suspended from both the team and school. The charges were dropped two months later and he was reinstated before the start of the season, but teams will likely still have questions about the incident before agreeing to invest in his future.

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