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How Eagles rookie Milton Williams is turning heads, drawing penalties on offensive linemen


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How Eagles rookie Milton Williams is turning heads, drawing penalties on offensive linemen

By Mike Kaye | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles rookie defensive lineman Milton Williams had played an entire quarter against the New England Patriots, but he was just starting to rev up after the first few series of Thursday’s 35-0 blowout loss at Lincoln Financial Field.

As he took the field for his first snap of the second quarter, Williams lined up opposite right tackle Justin Herron with the Patriots pinned within their own 10-yard line. When Patriots quarterback Mac Jones took the snap under center, Williams went into attack mode, squirming inside Herron’s left shoulder with a quick burst.

The offensive lineman had no choice but to hold Williams as the defender zoned in on running back Sony Michel. The corresponding laundry fell to the turf, as Herron was whistled for a hold, which pushed the Patriots even closer to their own end zone.

The Patriots eventually moved the ball, but Williams wasn’t done. On the very same drive, Williams lined up against Korey Cunningham, a new right tackle. Jones, again, took the snap under center, but he kept the ball for a passing play this time around.

Williams immediately powered through Cunningham and made his way to Jones. Cunningham, like Herron before him, had to hold Williams. While he kept Jones clean, Cunningham’s penalty negated a 13-yard completion to Michel and pushed the Patriots back 10 yards.

Linebacker Alex Singleton, who was playing behind Williams, saw his rookie teammate make a mess of the Patriots’ offensive line on that series.

"Man, he’s a dog,” Singleton said. "That’s a big dude. I think the first thing I noticed is that he doesn’t have a neck. He’s a big dude and he’s doing all the right things.”

Williams was a controversial pick in April.

ESPN cameras caught senior personnel consultant Tom Donahoe reacting negatively to the pick in the draft room as Eagles GM Howie Roseman celebrated with the rest of the front office staff. While that image made headlines, the Eagles made sure to promote defensive coordinator Johnathan Gannon’s celebration of Williams’ selection on their social media platforms.

After two standout preseason performances, it’s easy to see why Gannon was so stoked about adding Williams to his defensive front.

Williams is a versatile lineman, and the Eagles have used him at defensive end and defensive tackle. The 6-foot-3, 284-pound lineman has also been learning from the likes of Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox this summer. That veteran tutelage and Williams’ natural athleticism have made him a standout during the first two games of the exhibition slate.

With two flags drawn and a QB hit against the Patriots, Williams should not only be on the radar of his coaching staff and front office but future offensive opponents as well.

Singleton is among the veteran teammates who have noticed that Williams’ upside is high.

"As a young guy -- especially with the guys in front of him -- he’s learning multiple positions, inside and outside,” Singleton said. "And I think he’s been playing really well.”


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One thing to keep an eye on - they've been playing Williams at DE quite a bit.  If they like him a lot there and plan to use him a lot there during the reg season, that could make either Derek Barnett or Josh Sweat available in a trade (prob Barnett).  Both those guys are entering a contract year and it's quite possible we won't be able to keep both in 2022.  The Jets are looking for a DE, the Eagles are practicing against them this week, Joe Douglas was with the Eagles when they drafted both Barnett and Sweat...see all the dot-connecting I just did? :whistle:

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