Colts Should Bring Big Dan Williams from the Desert


The Indianapolis Colts are in dire need of an upgrade at nose tackle this offseason. Coming off an AFC Championship loss that saw the New England Patriots LeGarrette Blount rush for 148 rushing yards on 30 carries (4.9 ypc) and 3 touchdowns, the Colts could look to find a prominent run-stuffing nose tackle to clog up the middle of their defense in this year’s free agency.

Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams (92) against the Washington Redskins at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While “Signing Suh” has been thrown around, regarding the Lions All-Pro  defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, a more financially realistic option is the Arizona Cardinals “Big Dan” Williams. The listed 6’2″, 327 pound mammoth in the middle would be a significant upgrade over the team’s incument starting nose tackle Josh Chapman, who’s ideally suited as a rotational defensive lineman on a really good defensive unit.

As the Cardinals 2010 1st round pick out of Tennessee, Williams has helped to consistently anchor one of the league’s best rush defenses the past few seasons. The Cardinals were the 13th best rush defense this past season, allowing 108.7 rush yards per game, but are just one year removed from 1st place in 2013, as they allowed a league-low 84.4 rush yards per game.

Perhaps in part because of the partial loss of Williams, who played in only 9 starts this past season because of injury, yet still had 31 tackles and 1 sack. According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), his +11.5 overall grade ranked him as tied for the 14th best defensive tackle in the NFL overall. Specifically, his +11.7 grade against the run was the 8th best overall in the league. Perhaps most impressively though, as part of ProFootballFocus’s defensive tackle “signature stats”, was his run stop % of +9.1 which was the 7th best in the league, just one spot behind the aforementioned Suh, who was at a +9.7 grade.

Williams may not be quite the dominant defensive player that Suh is, but he won’t cost nearly as much either. With a mega-contract to Andrew Luck looming, the Colts can’t afford to tie too large of a chunk of their salary cap to just a few star players. Football is a team game after all, and the Colts simply have too many holes right now to address besides just one.

If the Arizona Cardinals actually let Williams leave the desert, which remains a big if, the 27-year old would likely draw $6-8MM on the open market. It’s certainly not cheap, but that seems much more reasonable than the $14-15MM that Suh is projected to unquestionably command on the open market. That saved $7MM can be used to address safety, running back, offensive guard, linebacker, or any other areas of positional need.

For the Colts, it’s time to bring “Big Dan” Williams out of the desert.