The decision to take Milton Williams in the third round was met with some derision. Not because the kid can’t play — some think he could be the biggest steal of the NFL draft — but due to that weird front-office exchange in the Philadelphia Eagles’ war room.
Whatever the case, Williams is an interesting prospect who gives the Eagles an intriguing dual-threat defensive player. He’s listed at defensive tackle, but the 284-pounder expects to line up as an edge rusher on early downs. He recorded 19 sacks over his past two seasons at Louisiana Tech while drawing physical comparisons to Aaron Donald after his pro day. Williams is an athletic freak.
“That was one of the reasons I decided to come out this year,” Williams told reporters on Friday night, “because I knew I was going to be one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the draft class. It just shows off my work ethic and the things I’m willing to do to sacrifice for my team and give it everything.”
I think if we don’t see that war room video, we’re all drooling over the Milton Williams’ pick. Aaron Donald hype and all. But since we saw it, it’s tainted. pic.twitter.com/BZhSR5KTRI #Eagles #FlyEaglesFly
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) May 1, 2021
The Texas native also revealed that he can play any position on the defensive line, a skill he honed by playing under three different defensive coordinators in college. All that on-the-fly learning and versatility should serve him well at the next level.
“I just need to know where I’m going to be, and I’m ready to roll,” Williams said. “Run game has always been one of my strengths since I got into college. Obviously, the pass rush is something I can improve on.”
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Get Ready for ‘Stab Club’ Rush Move
Williams played in both a three-man front and four-man front in college, so he can blend into whatever scheme new Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon decides to install. He mentioned trying to emulate guys like Fletcher Cox, Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, Myles Garrett with his aggressive style. He continues to improve his pass-rushing technique, particularly his favorite move: “the stab club.”
“I like stab club,” Williams said. “I think I worked on that a lot in the offseason, and I used it a lot in this past year, and I think it’s one of my most effective moves. But coming to the Eagles, like I said, lining up with guys like Fletcher Cox, hoping to widen that arsenal a little bit.”
After a *very* quick Twitter video search scouting report, I’m officially in on Milton Williams. pic.twitter.com/zZAnY9zlSV
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) May 1, 2021
The stab is a move where the defensive end gets his outside foot in the ground and uses one hand to gain leverage on the offensive tackle. The club part of it comes in when the pass-rusher throws his outside shoulder in a club-like motion to achieve separation. Hall-of-Famer Jason Taylor had a lethal version of the stab club.
“I feel like I’ll be on the edges on early downs with my strength and being able to hold point on the edge,” Williams said. “But third down, obvious passing downs, I feel like I’ll bump inside and be able to be productive inside.”
Howie Roseman Addresses War Room Mishap
Tom Donahoe’s name was trending on Friday night for what appeared to be a mid-pick fight with Howie Roseman. The Eagles general manager brushed it off to emotions, saying sometimes the scouts get attached to their recruits. Donahoe has been working in NFL front offices since 1991 and he’s listed as Senior Football Advisor, per the Eagles’ official website.
“You know, these guys spend all year scouting these guys and you get favorites, you get guys that you feel really strongly about. We all do,” Roseman told reporters. “You know, that’s the fun part about being in the draft room is the emotions of it. At the end of the day, Milton Williams is an exciting player for our football team. We’re excited to have him. You know, I don’t want to take away from his day, but we’re all excited about that pick.”
— Alex Anderson (@AAnderson_KTBS) May 1, 2021
It should be noted that Donahoe got into hot water with Bill Cowher during their time together in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ front office in the 1990s. Donahoe eventually lost the power struggle and left the team in 1999. From there, he went to serve as general manager for the Buffalo Bills before latching on with the Eagles in 2012.