The Eagles drafted DT Milton Williams with their third-round pick — to the dismay of at least one senior advisor. Williams declared early knowing he was one of the most athletic defensive tackles in this draft class, and it paid off. The DT spoke to reporters Friday night about the opportunity to play with Fletcher Cox, and how he sees himself fitting into the defensive rotation.
He only talked to one Eagles scout a while back for 30 minutes before talking to the defensive line coach a couple of weeks ago. Williams didn’t talk to the Eagles as much as some other teams, but he’s happy to be in Philly. He previously described himself as a quiet guy but said he does get passionate about football, and he’s excited to join Cox, Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave and give it all he’s got.
Williams said he’s most comfortable playing defensive tackle (vs defensive end), but he has the versatility to play the outside role and can be productive wherever they have him play. Throughout his high school and college career, he’s played every d-line position and is willing to do whatever is needed.
At Louisiana Tech, Williams played in 3-man and 4-man fronts and played under three different defensive coordinators in as many years so he’s comfortable moving around. He explained that with the Eagles he expects to be on the edges on early downs with his strength, and then bump inside on 3rd and 4th downs.
Williams also admitted that his strength is playing the run game and knows that he can improve in the pass rush. But, that’s something he worked really hard on heading into his 2020 college season and that effort and improvement showed on the field.
Fun fact: Williams pointed out that his high school mascot was an Eagle, so this is the second time he’ll play for the Eagles.
Reactions to the Williams pick
The Eagles are drafting La. Tech DT Milton Williams.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) May 1, 2021
Williams, 22, had a standout Pro Day — he’s 6-foot-3 and 284 pounds and ran a 4.63 40-yard dash. Williams had 10 sacks during the past two seasons.
The NFL announced Milton Williams as a DE. The Eagles are calling him a DT. He’s a versatile player.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) May 1, 2021
Can’t argue that there isn’t a need at DT. Pretty well-regarded player. Still not sure how you play defense without linebackers or corners but maybe someday we’ll get to talk to Jonathan Gannon and he’ll tell us.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) May 1, 2021
I wanted CB or LB but Eagles stayed true to their board. Williams could be a stud.— Kelly (@football_kelly) May 1, 2021
Eagles third-round pick Milton Williams had a beastly performance at his pro day. He's undersized but has the raw tools.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) May 1, 2021
Milton Williams, by the way, has short arms but has burst and explosion. Very possible he can play DE along with DT.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) May 1, 2021
Remember, expectations is more line games (twists, stunts) in Jonathan Gannon's defense. https://t.co/oK2c2dqDms
Williams had a great Pro Day. He showed big time athleticism. Really interesting guy. I had a feeling the new staff would want bigger DEs. 6-3, 284 is definitely a bigger DE, assuming he does stay there.— Tommy Lawlor (@lawlornfl) May 1, 2021