The 2020 NFL Draft is in the rear-view mirror as we move forward to (hopefully) some form of training camp prior to the start of the regular season. The Atlanta Falcons added 26 rookies to the roster recently, with 20 of them being undrafted free agents. The up-hill battle of being an UDFA is difficult, but in the past players like Brian Poole, Olamide Zaccheaus and Sharrod Neasman have all beaten the odds by making their way onto the Falcons roster. Recently, I’ve talked to fullback Mikey Daniel and offensive tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk.
Today, I’m focusing on linebacker Jordan Williams out of Baylor University, who is one of the 26 rookies hoping to make the Falcons’ practice squad, or better yet, the Falcons roster. Williams is listed at 6’0, 223 lbs and was quickly scooped up by the linebacker-needy Falcons following the 2020 NFL Draft. Williams was very durable for the Bears in suiting up for 36 of 39 games between 2017 and 2019, and had his best collegiate season as a redshirt senior. Baylor reached the Sugar Bowl in 2019, and Williams finished his collegiate career with 3.5 sacks, 119 tackles and 3 interceptions.
I was able to speak with Williams and ask him some questions about his offseason and making it to the NFL.
How would you summarize your time at Baylor? Favorite memory?
Too many to count, but my time at Baylor really helped form my mindset. Going through coaching changes, a SINGLE win season and then coming out on the other side two years later has done so much for me simply through knowing how much work it really takes to win! And my favorite memory — we brought in a thing called the “Program” and we did a training exercise where you have to tread water and exchange SWEATSHIRTS... never seen so many people deathly afraid of water after that! (Hahaha)
When did you personally know that you could play in the NFL?
Honestly man, it’s been a dream. Last year I was blessed to have a great season, so I kind of started believing in myself more and God came with an opportunity!
With everything going on right now with COVID-19, how has it impacted your offseason and preparing for your NFL career?
It’s honestly been a great time for family and self growth for me. You know, I want to be in a gym and have everything back to normal, but right now it’s more challenging to get the work in. It just shows you how bad you want it!
Did you receive any other offers; what made you decide to sign with the Falcons?
As soon as I met with AD (Aden Durde) and Coach Ulbrich, I could tell they believed in me and that’s all I needed. An opportunity with people who believe in me!
Have you discussed what your role would be with the Falcons’ staff?
Like any rookie, you have to come in and earn the right to be apart of the Brotherhood!! So my main focus is learning as much as I possibly can in these times and my route to making the team is through special teams.
How familiar were you with the Falcons franchise prior to signing?
I have always been a huge football fan, so I am very familiar with the organization. I was a huge fan back when Vick played, but I’m very excited to be apart of the Atlanta Falcons.
Is there any certain players you model your game after?
I wouldn’t say a certain player, but I definitely try to watch the greats that have come before me, and take a little something from each of them. Two of my favorite guys to watch are Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, the way they find the ball is art!
What do you want Falcons fans to know about you as a person?
Hopefully, they’ll get to know me more and more — but I just want to come to work everyday and leave better than I was when I walked in, and that’s exactly what the Falcons are getting from me. A hardworking kid from a small East Texas town (Paris, Texas).
Now that you’re a Falcon, how do you prepare for the upcoming season?
I have talked to the strength coaches and we are discussing my plan moving forward. I’m just going to dive in and try to take everything I can from the playbook. Be as prepared as possible.
One of Jordan Williams’ most notable moments is when he intercepted Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts during the 2019 Big 12 Championship game. The Falcons overall have a strong need for a linebacker, even post-draft as they currently have only seven listed on the current roster, including the newly added rookies. They’re also short on established options beyond Deion Jones.
Williams knows that his path to making the team is likely through special teams, and that’s a great mindset to have. Two of the seven linebackers (LaRoy Reynolds and Ahmad Thomas) went undrafted in their respective drafts, so Williams making the roster is entirely possible. At worst, he should be competing for a role on the practice squad.