Not only did Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cornerback Terry Hawthorne return to the practice field on Monday, but rookie defensive end Nick Williams also was back working as well, according to head coach Mike Tomlin following practice.
Williams, the Steelers seventh-round selection in 2013 NFL Draft has missed a lot of time thus far during training camp with a knee injury of some description.
Williams was one of the several Steelers players who missed the preseason opener Saturday night against the New York Giants, but it appears as if he might be able to make his debut next Monday in the second preseason game against the Washington Redskins.
Williams, who Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell called a project back in April, has a lot of ground to make up between now and the end of the preseason as he is being converted from a 4-3 defensive tackle to a 3-4 defensive end.
The Steelers are likely to keep only six defensive linemen on their 53 man roster to start the season, so Williams could be battling second-year nose tackle Alameda Ta\’amu for the sixth and final spot. The only way that Ta\’amu doesn\’t make the roster, in my opinion, is if the coaches have full confidence that defensive end Al Woods can serve as the backup to Steve McLendon at nose tackle. Woods, as I posted earlier, received the first-team reps at nose tackle on Monday with McLendon absent for the birth of his child.