Carter’s Classroom: Williams ready for lead role?


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Vince Williams (98) faces an opportunity to be a full-time starter at inside linebacker. But do the Steelers feel he's ready? -- MATT SUNDAY DKPS

The signing of Lawrence Timmons by the Dolphins may change the Steelers' outlook in free agency and in the draft if the organization does not see backup inside linebacker Vince Williams as ready to step in.

Williams, a sixth round draft pick in 2013, was thrown into the fire during his rookie season because of injuries that depleted the Steelers' depth at inside linebacker. He started 11 games and looked like a solid addition to the team for the round in which he was drafted.

Williams earned his keep as a backup, but would only started six games over the next three seasons. That's largely due to the drafting and rise of Ryan Shazier and the rise of Timmons as the centerpiece of the defense.

But now Williams is the clear second man on the depth chart at inside linebacker with Timmons gone and Shazier rises to the top dog in the rotation. NFL free agency has multiple starters at inside linebacker still floating around, and the 2017 draft class has multiple prospects at inside linebacker that appear to be worthy of early round grades.

Let's take a look into the film room to see what the Steelers' see in Williams, and if that will be enough for them to not make an investment in someone else:

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