It’s been more than three years since the Philadelphia Eagles hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. While the roster still has some familiar names from that historic team, it’s time to turn the page on those underdogs and unleash some hungry puppies.
Milton Williams has already started building the new doghouse, too. The third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech mentioned the Super Bowl-winning squad on draft day and stated how he was ready to “get that culture back” in the locker room. He talked about growing up in Crowley, Texas where his high school mascot was an eagle, plus he counted Eagles All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox as one of the guys he tried to emulate.
“Football is a big part of my life. Without football, I don’t know what I would be doing,” Williams told reporters. “I know Philly is a big football town. You guys won a Super Bowl not too long ago, so I’m sure you guys are ready to get that culture back in your locker room.”
The 6-foot-3, 284-pound defensive tackle drew comparisons to three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald after his pro day, thanks to similar measurables and athleticism. Everyone needs to back the truck up on that unfair projection, although Williams did admit to studying guys like Donald and Cox, plus J.J. Watt and Myles Garrett.
“I try to watch those guys a lot and bring a lot of their quickness and the IQ of the game and how they move and how they play certain blocks and bring that to my game,” Williams said. “If you’re a team going against those guys, you got to make sure you account for them in your game plan or you’re going to have a long day.”
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Developmental Player, Undersized Tackle
Block out all that draft-day drama between Howie Roseman and Tom Donahoe. It’s not fair to hold Williams under a tainted microscope. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was very high on the 22-year-old coming out of college and put him on his “2021 NFL Draft Superteam” as one of 44 total selections. High praise.
Bleacher Report gave Williams a favorable scouting report, calling him a “freak athlete on paper” who needs to pack on some muscle and learn how to fight through double teams. He’s a raw developmental player, but not a bad pick by any means. Here is what they wrote:
Williams is a freak athlete on paper who transitioned that athleticism to Conference USA production in college, but he may take a year or two in an NFL system to manage the jump in competition while continuing his physical growth.
His upside as a penetrator and as a pass-rusher is what is writing the check for his first NFL payday, but his development in his first three years is going to set the tone for what type of a career he is going to have.
‘Man, Y’all Got Me Crying Like a Baby’
One of the best things about the draft process is the raw emotion players show upon hearing their name called. Williams was watching the draft on TV with his family in his hometown of Crowley, Texas when a 215 area code popped up on his phone. He chatted with Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and fought back tears.
“When I got the call, it was a lot of emotion,” Williams said. “I talked to Coach [Sirianni] earlier and I said, ‘Man, y’all got me crying like a baby.’ Just so excited and ready to be an Eagle. The crazy thing is my high school mascot was the Eagles, so this is going to be my second time being an Eagle, and just ready to be a part of a great organization.”