Film Room | Why the Giants Need to Re-sign Leonard Williams

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gene Clemons

The Giants have decisions all across their roster to make this off-season, but perhaps none looms more significant than how to handle the contract for defensive lineman Leonard Williams. 

The conundrum is that although Williams will be heading into his sixth season in the league, he is only 25 years old. That means the 6-foot 5, 300-pound USC product still hasn’t reached his prime. 

The fact that the Giants used a third-round pick this year and a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2021 to pull Williams out of the Jets organization means that they will likely try to re-sign him.

We know Williams is good--that is indisputable. Although he only accounted for a half-sack last season, he recorded 23 tackles, 17 pressures, and ten quarterback hits in his eight games as a Giant. 

Those are impressive stats when you consider that he mostly lined up over guards and centers in former defensive coordinator James Bettcher's defense after lining up against offensive tackles during most of his time with the Jets.

But is Williams worth a hefty contract? Let’s take a look at the film to study the impact of an athlete like Williams and why it is so hard to walk away from him.

Below, Williams shows off his power. He is lined up in a 1-technique (outside eye of the center). He absorbs the chip block by the guard, throws the best center in football (Jason Kelce) to the ground, and tackles the running back for a minimal gain.

(via NFL Game Pass)

In this next clip, Williams is playing a familiar 4i-technique (inside eye of the tackle) versus the Cowboys. 

He pursues the zone run play down the line of scrimmage, spin off the down block of one of the best left tackles in football (Tyron Smith), and makes the tackle on running back Ezekiel Elliot before he breaks into the defensive backfield.

(via NFL Game Pass)

This final clip is where you see Williams at his most dangerous. He’s aligned in a 5-technique (outside eye of the tackle). 

The Eagles tried to block him with tight end Dallas Goedert running zone away. Williams was able to destroy the block, chase the play down the line of scrimmage and tackle the back in the backfield.

(via NFL Game Pass)

While none of these are sack clips, they show off Williams’ versatility and how dynamic he can be when used correctly. 

Will he ever be the focus of a defensive line? Only time will tell, but he has consistently shown that he can be a valuable piece of an ensemble, which is what the Giants seem as if they are trying to develop.

Getting back to the question of what Williams might be worth, he may not be someone that you want to pay top dollar for, but when you mix the age, talent, and compensation already sacrificed to get him, the Giants might have no choice. 

At his worst, you get the player he has shown himself to be over the last couple of seasons. At his best, that’s a promising proposition for the Giants. 

Comments (4)

Save the film clips. This first round bust from the JETS who have not won a Super Bowl in over 50 years tells you all you need to know. 5 years 17.5 sacks. Genius Blowhard Gettleman cant draft someone in a HIGH round to give you the same production for a lot less $$$$$$$$$$$.
He should have been terminated for trading for him. Word of advice NEVER trade for the JETS TRASH. Jet fans will tell you do you know how many times he ALMOST had a sack. Save the clips. Waste of draft picks and money.

No. 1-4

We will never agree that this trade made sense for the Giants 😡


Good article. I agree he should be re signed. There is also the synergy he brings to the DL. They really seemed to play much better after his addition, especially Tomlinson. Stats and analytics matter. But so does team chemistry and synergy between players. Players who make the players around them better is exactly what we need More of. Keep Big Cat!


If the Giants EVER want to get better, they have to add to the good pieces they already have, not subtract from those good pieces and then look to replace that piece. You never get better that way. Williams and Golden are both MUST signs. Take some FA money after they are signed and sign a vet CB and Pass Rusher. Draft an OT and a Center 1 and 2 to shore up the OL.