Steelers Rookie DE Nick Williams Back Practicing Again As Of Monday

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.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Not sure how much practice Williams has in but not sure if he knows enough to get on the field Monday for the game. Any thought?

  • Matt Searls

    The Boston Herald site has a great article about Ta’amu and how cameron heyward helped him out this season and really took him under his wing. i thought it was really cool seeing how heyward is still a young guy himself. its the first thing that comes up when you type steelers into google

  • grw1960

    I The Steelers coaches may not even know for sure yet. If they think he is worth the gamble?
    But It wouldn’t be the first time they carried an extra player on the roster all season who probably won’t dress for a game till the end of the season.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He’s definitely practice squad bound at best. If they carry an extra d-lineman, it has to be Brian Arnfelt.

  • Russ Ruffing

    I have tracked the Steelers roster position by position for years, and the Steelers always keep 7 Defensive Linemen, not 6. So I’d say they’ll keep Hood, McClendon, Keisel, Heyward, Woods, Ta’amu, and Williams.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I don’t think Arnfelt or Williams make the 53. The question becomes who they think has better long term potential for a practice squad slot, if there is only room for 1.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Arnfelt is clearly the better player right now, and they drafted Williams knowing he would be a project, so if one of the two make the roster, I would think Arnfelt makes the roster and Williams goes to the practice squad, where he was pegged the day he was drafted.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I don’t know what to think regarding whether or not they keep 7 DL this year. Obviously it depends on how the other roster positions shape out. I think the 53rd man will come down to a 9th OL, a 7th DL, or a 6th WR. As it stands now, I would say DL is most likely, but I think they’d really like to pick up a veteran offensive lineman after the final cuts. Dunn could also take that 6th receiver spot as the return man. Hopefully the players take it upon themselves to make it a tough decision.

  • steeltown

    He will if he’s healthy.. 3rd or 4th Qtr.. they want to see him hit someone

  • steeltown

    I like your list, but I think they might not carry 7DL this year, not if they’ll have to carry an extra TE (or two) to start the season and possibly an extra CB, plus of course whether or not they carry 6WRs or a return man (Dunn) will factor in.. I kind of see Nicholas Williams being stashed on the PS… unless he REALLY thrives over the next few weeks

  • steeltown

    Im torn as well… I guess if Nicholas Williams comes out a blazing and makes an impression, he’ll earn that spot

    Otherwise I see him to the PS

  • patrick Mayfield

    in 2010 and 2007 we carried only 6. Back then you had starters in place and experienced backups. Most years you’re grooming someone or you have some injury concern to mitigate which drives it up to 7 guys.

    The experience is there with the top 6 that they could roll with 6 unless they don’t think they could stash Williams on the PS. I’m halfway surprised Tomlin didn’t try to slide him to IR after his minor injury.

  • Coach-G

    Tough moving a DE like Woods to the Nose position. The closer you get to the ball the more of a Man you need to become. If Woods wants to move to that spot he needs to get stronger “Way Stronger”

    Alameda is a true Nose Tackle. He’s been at that position all his life since Middle school / High School Football. Dominated in college since he was a freshman. Sure its going to take a season maybe even two to get use to the hand speed and footwork required to dominate at such a high level.. Alameda surrounds himself with greatness now on and off the field and we all learn lessons that life brings.. I see and watch Alameda Ta’amu play I see a man that has passion for the game and new drive to dominate and once he gets that motor going he’ll be un-stoppable …


  • Douglas Andrews

    Woods looks a lot more like a NT this season. Made some good plays in the Giants game but so did Ta’amu. Wonder how all these first team reps will play into the game day roster. Good to have flexibility

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    This team could have a few guys come from other teams. I could see 2 OL, a returner, a TE, or maybe even a cheaper RB if the cap squeezes Dwyer and/or Redman off the team. They wouldn’t do all of those moves, but I’ll be surprised if there aren’t a couple of guys on the day one 53 that aren’t in camp now.

    I think the roster breakdown may not be as logical and predictable as it has been in the past. If they like the talent at LB and DB more than OL, WR, and DL, l won’t be surprised if they overstock LB and DB.

    Given the versatility of Woods and McLendon, I expect them to go with 6 DL. The only way they go with 6 wr is if #6 clearly earns a returner job.