Baskin: Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta had one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history last season, which masked a weakness in their run defense—opponents were almost always playing catch up and were forced to abandon their ground game. So while the Falcons faced the fifth-fewest rushes per game in the NFL in 2016, they allowed 4.5 yards per rush, good for 26th in the league. Being able to add a player like Brandon Williams would greatly improve the Falcons’ run-stopping unit, as Williams is a prototypical space-eater. And an improved run defense would make life much easier for Atlanta’s young pass rushers.
Burke: Detroit Lions. The Ravens should be doing whatever they can to keep Williams and right tackle Ricky Wagner, but it seems as if both are headed out. With Williams hitting the market, Lions GM Bob Quinn might consider swapping out Haloti Ngata—a disappointment in Detroit—with Williams. The latter was a rookie with the Ravens during Teryl Austin’s final season as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator, before Austin relocated to Detroit.
Feldman: Washington Redskins. Baltimore appears to be doing everything it can at this point to keep its promising defensive tackle. If he gets away, he might not end up going far. Washington has moved on from its “win the off-season” ways, but it still could really use a run-stopping anchor for new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Jones: Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens would be silly not to re-sign Williams. He’s one of the best players set to hit the market—arguably the best—and he’s going to come at a cost. Baltimore knows that. But Williams is one of the best run stuffers in the game, and getting him back on the front line will be the first step in getting Baltimore back into the playoffs.
Single: Oakland Raiders. How could the Raiders have finished last in the league in sacks with Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack coming off the edge? In part, because Mack was the only defender consistently winning his battles close to the line of scrimmage. Williams would attract attention in a way 2016 defensive tackles Dan Williams and Stacy McGee could barely approach, and Reggie McKenzie showed last March that he isn’t afraid to whip out the checkbook in pursuit of elite interior line play.