When the Chicago Bears released former 1st round draft pick Chris Williams last week he immediately became a wanted man. He had visits in Philadelphia, Arizona, and San Diego, before finally agreeing to sign with the St. Louis Rams. My best guess is it was the trip to London that swayed his decision, however reports have the Rams offering more money.
The Rams are set to take on the New England Patriots in a "home" game at London's Wembly Stadium. At this point it's too early to tell if he'll be active for the game.
Williams was never able to settle into one spot on the o-line in Chicago. He was drafted to play left tackle, but injury led to him missing most of his rookie season. He returned the following year and was asked to ease into the right side while former Rams Pro Bowler Orlando Pace manned left tackle. That was an experiment that just wasted time in my opinion.
He eventually made his way to the left side and looked OK considering his professional inexperience on that side. His time at LT was highlighted by shutting down Minnesota's Jared Allen late that year.
The next season he struggled a bit at left tackle before suffering another injury. When he returned later that year it was decided he would move to left guard as to not mess with what little continuity the o-line was starting to form. He played well enough that the Bears were going to roll with him as the starting left guard in 2011. But another injury took him out of the equation 9 games in to the season.
This off season he was moved back to his original LT spot to compete, but he wasn't able to win the job. Before he was released he was the swing tackle, but the potential of practice squadder James Brown and the signing of Jonathan Scott to be the new swing tackle prompted the Bears to cut ties.
In my opinion Williams has a place in the NFL. If the Rams allow him to remain at guard he'll be fine. Just pick a position and let him grow into it. He's a technique player that would be best in a zone blocking scheme, as he has the athleticism to move. Pull him, let him get out in front of screens, and he'll thrive. He just wasn't a match for what Bears former offensive line coach and current offensive coordinator Mike Tice is looking for.
The official Rams website doesn't have him listed on their roster as of this writing, but one of their blogs lists him as a guard. NFL.com lists him as a tackle. Time will tell.
Here's Tice from ESPN Chicago:
"Chris is a great guy and we had a great talk after we released him," Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "He's had some bad breaks; he's had some bad injury breaks. We tried to move him inside (to guard) a little bit, and just as things were going last year he got dinged up a little bit and lost some time. Right now, I just think the organization felt it would be good for him to maybe get a fresh start. Chris is a great guy and he did everything we asked him to do. I wish him the best of luck and he knows that."
The WCGFCBWC would like to congratulate Chris Williams, and we wish you luck in all your future endeavors.