Bucs work out SLB Antwione Williams for draft
With news coming that the Bucs will be releasing Bruce Carter on Monday and not tendering Danny Lansanah, strongside linebacker becomes a wide-open position for Tampa Bay in 2016.
Knowing that, it's intriguing that the Bucs sent new linebackers coach Mark Duffner to Atlanta on Sunday for a private workout with Antwione Williams, a draft prospect from Georgia Southern. Williams, 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, had talked to Bucs scouts at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, where he had three tackles in the January showcase game.
"It went great -- had a great time," Williams said of his first private workout with any NFL team. "He was really happy with the workout today, and we got to talk about football after, and it was nice to get back to talking football since I've been training for so long."
Each NFL team gets 30 "top 30" visits to bring in draft prospects to their facilities in the next seven weeks, and the Bucs have lined up one for Williams on April 13. Being in the southeast, he said he sees a fair amount of Bucs games on TV and has watched a lot of Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, the Bucs' young nucleus at linebacker.
"I know a little bit about them," he said. "Lavonte David's a great player and they have the experience where you could go out and ask them questions. They're two guys you can model your play after."
Williams, 22, led GSU with 107 tackles last season, including 10.5 tackles for loss, with four forced fumbles. The Bucs have one of his college teammates on roster now in Darius Eubanks, who joined the team late last season. He's played all three linebacker positions, but worked the most at GSU's "Buck" position, which is the strongside job.
Asked if there's an NFL linebacker Williams admires and patterns his game after, he pointed to Carolina's Thomas Davis, liking not only how he flies all over the field but the toughness he's shown fighting through multiple injuries and surgeries. Likely a third-day pick in this draft, Williams is training in McDonough, Ga., and preparing for Georgia Southern's pro day on April 6.
Duffner isn't done evaluating this weekend -- he's expected to drive over to Auburn for the Tigers' pro day on Monday, where he'll be able to look at another linebacker in Cassanova McKinzy.