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Nick Williams a pleasant surprise for Bears’ defensive line

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The journeyman defensive lineman has exploded onto the scene through the first four weeks of the 2019 season.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Nick Williams has had plenty to flex about in recent weeks.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Williams was only active for two games for the Bears in 2018. Yet, he has developed into one of their more impactful defenders to start the 2019 season.

The 29-year-old Williams has racked up four sacks in the past three games for the Bears, and he has been a force as both a pass rusher and as a run defender. With the likes of Bilal Nichols and Akiem Hicks having missed time due to injuries early in the year, he has taken plenty of snaps and made the most of them.

Though he isn’t one of the defense’s flashier names like Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson or Kyle Fuller, Williams has quietly been playing at a high level along the interior defensive line. His two sacks and seven tackles against the Vikings helped the Bears shut down Dalvin Cook, who led the NFL in rushing yards heading into the game.

Williams’ performances to start the year were the subject of my latest Twitter thread, in which I broke down some of the impactful plays he has made thus far. Williams himself has even gone through the thread and liked the tweets, so check them out for yourself:

Williams has already proven he can take valuable reps with Hicks healthy, but his hot start to the season makes it likely the Bears will still have a role for him when Nichols comes back from injury.

The veteran is currently playing on a one-year deal that will earn him $895,000 this year. If he keeps up his high level of play, he could be in for a much bigger payday next offseason.