Fans of the New York Giants know how awful the team's run defense was in 2014. You are probably trying to forget, especially now that the team has a new defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo, but let me remind. The Giants were 30th in yards per game allowed (135.1) and dead last in yards allowed per rushing attempt (4.9).
So, yes, the Giants need help in their defensive front seven. That is one reason some think massive Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton is the perfect fit for the Giants with the ninth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. That may be, but free agency comes before the draft, so let's spend today looking at one potential free-agent defensive tackle who might fill that run-stuffing role.
Dan Williams of the Arizona Cardinals.
Williams is a 6-foot-2, 330-pound run-stuffer who was Arizona's first-round pick in 2010 (26th overall). Per Pro Football Focus, Williams posted a +13.7 run defense grade this season, and has been a plus run defender in each of the past three seasons. Williams' 9.1 run-stop percentage in 2014 was seventh in the league, per PFF, one spot behind Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions.
Williams is listed as a nose tackle, but was considered versatile enough to play 4-3 defensive tackle coming out of college. Jess Root of SB Nation's Cardinals' web site, Revenge of the Birds, offered this assessment of the 27-year-old Williams:
"Williams is versatile enough. He played all along the defensive line in 2014, so I have no doubt he could play in a 4-3 scheme. He is big and is great against the run," Root said. "However, he has only played about 30 percent of the Cardinals snaps since being drafted. He is the guy that always came out in nickel sets. He has a couple of sacks in his career and he would like to rush the passer more, but never is asked to do so."
Williams just finished a five-year, $6.88 million rookie contract with the Cardinals. There is no telling exactly what kind of money Williams is looking for, though one report said Williams might get around $6 million per year.
As a run defender on early downs and short-yardage situations, Williams seems like a player who might make sense as an upgrade from Mike Patterson and Markus Kuhn.
Are you interested, Giants fans?