The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted linebacker Vince Williams in the sixth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Williams has become a quality backup linebacker who has earned some playing time throughout his career. When Williams is on the field you get a sense of consistency with his performances.
Over the last three years in Pittsburgh, he earned 116 total tackles and has become a tremendous special teams player. Williams continues to improve each year and is a true contributor when on the field.
Today we will take a look at some plays where Williams showed fans just why the coaches trust him enough to log snaps in many games.
Great Coverage, Perfect TIP Pass
The Pittsburgh Steelers faced an explosive Arizona Cardinals offense in a week 6 matchup. After struggling early in the first quarter, Pittsburgh's defense created a crucial turnover.
A simple Carson Palmer pass over the middle was deflected by linebacker Vince Williams and intercepted by Lawrence Timmons, who did a tremendous job of reeling it in. Williams' coverage displayed great fundamentals as he played his assignment rather than staring into the backfield and made the play that allowed for Timmons' great effort.
This interception ended up being a major blow after Pittsburgh failed to capitalize after an incredible group effort from Timmons and Williams.
Great vision & tackle
The week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens really made Steeler fans sick. Multiple mistakes and questionable calls provided Pittsburgh with a loss which should have been a victory.
Late in the overtime period on the Raven's final drive, which won the game, the third-year linebacker provided an excellent tackle for a loss. Williams locked down the running back by sliding to the left and accelerating to him.
Even though this was an assisted tackle, Williams did a very solid job at closing the hole so running back Justin Forsett could not gain any yards. This was a third and one rush that forced the Ravens to attempt a 52-yard field goal to win the game.
Despite sensational kicker Justin Tucker making the long field goal, this stop showcases what Williams is best known for: his ability to stop the run.
Interior pressure, assisted sack
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line has a tendency to get hammered by the Steelers defense when they face one another. In a week 14 matchup linebacker Vince Williams registered his first half of a sack. His consistent pressure against offensive lineman is slowly improving each time he is on the field.
Williams provided great interior pressure after going threw the wide open A-Gap. He seamlessly got off of his block while in the pocket and reached the quarterback for an assisted sack shared with defensive tackle Dan McCullers.
Vince Williams has become a reliable backup in Pittsburgh behind two first round draft picks in Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier. He was able to retain his position even in spite of Sean Spence, a third round pick who missed two years from injury, coming to earn the next spot on the inside linebacker position of the Steelers' depth chart.
Williams is a player which Pittsburgh will be able to rely on for years should he be willing to take smaller contracts from the franchise and continue his career here for the long run. This being a contract year, Williams may look to go make big money from another team looking for a consistent interior presence on defense.
But with Timmons needing an extension soon, do not be surprised if Williams becomes a sort of Larry Foote in the near future beside Shazier. Williams most certainly would be a less expensive player on the salary cap and has proven reliable in Pittsburgh's changing schemes.