Don't Look Past Corey Williams

Cleveland Browns acquisiton of Shaun Rogers garnered headlines, but Corey Williams could be key...


Shaun Rogers has garnered most of the attention since the trading frenzy on the first day of free agency when Browns' general manager Phil Savage acquired Rogers and Corey Williams in separate deals. Rogers has been in the league longer and he is the proverbial squeaky wheel because of an up and down career with the Lions.

Williams will be every bit as important as Rogers in the revamped line. He is projected to take over from Orpheus Roye at left defensive end. He can rush from the inside when the Browns use a four-man line.

"I describe myself as a hard worker, a high-motor guy - a guy who loves the game of football, loves to get out and make plays and help my team win," Williams said. "This is an up and coming team and I wanted to be a part of it. I played 3-4 in college my first couple years, so (playing end) isn't too different for me."

The Browns went into free agency aggressively because they do not have a first-round pick in the draft, having traded it to the Cowboys last year so they could draft Brady Quinn. That did not stop Savage from dealing his second-round pick to the Packers.

Savage said giving up the 56th pick in the draft for Williams was worth it. Williams, entering his fifth season, had seven sacks in 2006 and seven more in 2007. The Packers gave Williams the franchise tag. Knowing no team would give them two first-round picks for him, the Packers agreed to trade Williams to the Browns. The Browns signed Williams to a six-year, $38 million deal with $16.5 million guaranteed.

"I knew there was going to be sacrifice involved, but in our estimation, a legitimate veteran defensive lineman who still has a lot of upside is a good fit for us," Savage said. "It's going to be tough to sit there and watch all these players come off the board, but now we can lower our gun sights and get to know those mid- to lower-level players a little better. Maybe we'll find a gem or two."

Adding Rogers and Williams transforms the defensive line instantly. Rogers would be the nose tackle in the 3-4 lineup. Robaire Smith would be the right end. Shaun Smith would be the backup nose tackle and left end. When the Browns go to a pass-rush alignment the down linemen could be Williams, Rogers, Robaire Smith and Willie McGinest with Kamerion Wimbley at right outside linebacker.

"Shaun Rogers is a great player," Williams said. "He played in the same division I played in when I was in Green Bay. He's the type of player that can easily take over a game. He plays hard and stays in the backfield."


The OBR Top Stories