Determined to make an impact following a relatively quiet rookie season, Ravens defensive lineman Brandon Williams has devoted his offseason to making some changes.
Already massive at 6 feet 1, 335 pounds, Williams wanted to upgrade his mobility and stamina. So, he has been spending more time on cardio, running and agility drills. The results were on display during a celebrity kickball game at Ripken Stadium on Sunday, where Williams looked considerably slimmer than last year.
"I've had a good offseason, I've been working out doing cardio and a bunch of other stuff," Williams said. "I'm lighter and leaner. I've gotten a little stronger."
Strength has never been the issue for Williams, a strongman from Missouri Southern who bench pressed 225 pounds 38 times last year at the NFL scouting combine. He has bench pressed 525 pounds in the past and became a viral sensation with a YouTube video of him walking on his hands.
As a rookie, though, Williams was limited to seven games, primarily due to a lingering toe injury that had him in a walking boot to start the season. There was also the transition from being a Division II All-American to the NFL. Williams finished the season with six tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery in seven games last year.
"Definitely, the mental aspect of the game I know that a lot better," said Williams, who recorded 191 career tackles in college with 52 1/2 tackles for losses, 27 sacks and six forced fumbles. "I know what to expect now. It's going to be good."
With the departure of defensive lineman Arthur Jones to the Indianapolis Colts, there's also an increased opportunity for playing time for Williams, along with fellow defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore and rookie second-round draft pick Timmy Jernigan.
"Art's a great guy and a good friend, but I'm ready," said Williams, who's entering the second year of a four-year, $2.675 million contract that includes a $515,000 signing bonus. "This is what I'm here for."
The Ravens have some flexibility along the defensive line, where Williams could line up inside as a nose tackle potentially to spell Pro Bowl nose tackle Haloti Ngata, or the Ravens could occasionally experiment with Ngata outside and have Williams line up over the center.
Jones is expecting an expanded role for Williams in his second NFL season.
"Oh man, the sky's the limit for that guy," Jones said. "You see his arms? He's a guy who matured so fast. He learned a lot so fast.
"I'm expecting nothing but great things for him and that defensive line. They're a band of brothers. It's going to be fun to play agains them this year."
The Ravens have their first organized team activity of the offseason later this week, and Williams is likely to see plenty of snaps.
"Yeah, I'm excited," Williams said. "I'm ready to get back out there."