CENTENNIAL — DeShawn Williams is not getting complacent at Broncos training camp.
The defensive end is practicing with the starters to suggest a prominent role in Denver this season. Yet Williams still won’t shake the feeling of failure in pursuit of his dream to play in the NFL. It motivates him.
“I still practice like I could be cut,” Williams said. “In this game, nothing is given. You could be hurt, like how we lost a great player with Tim (Patrick). So, you’ve got to attack every day like it’s your last. … Just go out there and give it everything I’ve got.”
Williams is no stranger to football adversity.
He entered the NFL in 2015 as an undrafted rookie and was later cut four times in Cincinnati, three times in Denver, twice in Miami and once in Indianapolis. He even worked at Amazon in 2020 before finally earning a roster spot back with the Broncos.
“He’s always trying to be a positive person. He’s one of those guys who has been through so much,” fellow Broncos defensive end Dre’Mont Jones said. “He understands the trials and tribulations. He’s been out of the league working at Amazon and then he got that call. He made the most out of his return.”
Williams has taken advantage over the past two years in Denver with 76 tackles (five for loss) and three sacks. On Tuesday, Williams was listed opposite Jones as starting defensive ends on the team’s initial depth chart release.
“His ability to disturb and obstruct on that line of scrimmage is unbelievable,” head coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “He’s got a low center of gravity. He has that ability to use his hands and disrupt is just unbelievable. I’ve been really blown away by him.
Williams is also bullish on the potential for the entire defensive line corps and edge rushing unit to create havoc this season.
“It’s a scary group,” Williams said.
His teammates agree. Starting left tackle Garett Bolles is tasked with slowing down the Broncos’ edge rushers in training camp, and most notably, outside linebacker Bradley Chubb. He missed significant playing time last season with an ankle injury.
“We have a top-five defense,” Bolles said. “Going against those guys every single day just prepares me to go against the best of the best. Guys that can push me to a whole (new) level. … With Chubb, we’ve been battling every single day.”
Williams isn’t fazed by the supposed pressure of being an important piece of a possibly dominant defense.
“It’s the same. It’s just football at the end of the day,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re with the ones, twos or threes. Everybody is getting reps.”