From the Gaston Gazette, we find out that Williams had a few extra eyes on him; some that didn’t belong to Browns fans hoping that the man who once recorded 14 sacks in a two-year period could perhaps return to form.
Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney was in Green Bay Saturday night scouting the preseason game between the Packers and Cleveland Browns, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That makes sense since Hurney wasn’t at practice today.
Now here’s the interesting part — Tony Grossi, who covers the Browns, speculates that Hurney might be there scouting Browns defensive lineman Corey Williams, who could be on the trading block. Williams (6-4, 320) is a potential answer for the Panthers at defensive tackle.
We have heard it time and time again that Eric Mangini has zero allegiance to the players that are currently on the Browns roster. Aside from the players that were drafted, acquired via free agency, or added via trade, the rest of the roster is full of guys that were added by Phil Savage. One of last season’s big additions was Williams, who required a second-round pick to pry his services from Green Bay. (The Packers would later use that pick on quarterback Brian Brohm out of Louisville)
The downside to adding a defensive lineman that averaged seven sacks over the prior two years was the way that the Browns took a guy that was successful as a defensive tackle and just assumed that he would be able to replicate his numbers as a defensive end. One of the biggest digs at the prior regime was that they tended to plug square pegs into round holes, opposed to building the defense around the strengths of the players they had.
Last season saw a boost in Williams’ tackle numbers, but a large decline in his sacks (.5). The big man was plagued with a shoulder injury for much of the year, which has led to a lot of expectation for the upcoming season. Though listed as the starting end, Williams was featured with the second team defense on Saturday. He recorded one tackle with one assist.
The sad part is, I have no doubt that Williams would be successful in Carolina’s 4-3 defense. Of course, having players like Julius Peppers and Jon Beason around you always makes things a bit easier.
There is no denying that we would all love to see Williams revert back to the ways of 2006 and 2007. But if the addition of players like CJ Mosley means that Williams will not have as many snaps to prove his worth, a trade may be the best option. Just don’t count on the Browns being able to get what they paid in return.