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Broncos roster review: defensive tackle Deshawn Williams

Will the role of the veteran DT be expanded in 2021?

Denver Broncos v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Deshawn Williams entered the NFL in 2015, but despite that he has had very little game experience. He only has 493 career defensive snaps and almost all of those came last season.

DeShawn Williams

DEFENSIVE LINE #90
Experience: 3 years

Height: 6-1
Age: 28
Weight: 292 lbs
College: Clemson

Williams played 436 defensive snaps for the 2020 Broncos starting eleven games. He got anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of the defensive snaps starting in game three after he essentially filled Jurrell Casey’s role after he went down with injury, but he also filled in at nose tackle after Mike Purcell’s injury. Williams finished the season with forty percent of the defensive snaps which made him the third starter on the defensive line (counting Bradley Chubb as an OLB).

He was credited with 37 tackles, 10 QB pressures, 2.0 sacks, 4 TFL, 1 INT and 3 PD. His 37 total tackles was second only to Dre’Mont Jones (41). He will be remembered for his diving interception of Cam Newton in the game against the Patriots, but his best game of the season was against the Dolphins where he notched his two sacks and two of his four TFL (sacks are NOT counted as TFL).

From a production standpoint, it’s hard to say how his production compares to what we could have gotten from from Jurrell Casey if he had been healthy all season. Casey had 44 tackles, 21 pressures, 5.0 sacks, 5 TFL and 1 FF in 708 snaps for the Titans in 2019. So in about one and a half times the snaps, Casey had twice as many pressures and sacks. Let us not forget that Casey made the Pro-Bowl every year from 2015 to 2019.

Given that 2020 was Williams’ first season with real playing time in the NFL, I hope for big things from him in 2021. I think he may be another defensive line player that Bill Kollar molds into an above average starter in the NFL. It does not hurt that he is still on a cheap contract like pretty much our entire defensive line with the exception of Shelby Harris. From an average per year basis, Williams is actually our lowest paid defensive lineman. Yes, even less than Deyon Sizer, who has almost no NFL snaps. Sizer has five defensive snaps.

Player Age Total Contract Value Average per year
Shelby Harris 30 $27,000,000 $9,000,000
Mike Purcell 30 $11,500,000 $2,875,000
Shamar Stephen 30 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
McTelvin Agim 24 $4,399,047 $1,099,762
Dre'Mont Jones 24 $4,158,800 $1,039,700
Marquiss Spencer 24 $3,561,396 $890,349
Isaiah Mack 25 $850,000 $850,000
Jonathan Harris 25 $1,675,000 $837,500
Deyon Sizer 25 $1,675,000 $837,500
DeShawn Williams 29 $1,525,000 $762,500