When it comes to both athletic ability and production as a pass-rusher, Sam Williams has it all. The Ole Miss edge rusher was wildly productive during his days in Oxford and lit up both the 2022 NFL Combine and his Pro Day with his workouts. Now, the Green Bay Packers are bringing him in for an official visit. However, given that on-field talent it is likely that questions about Williams’ history and some past legal trouble are what the team wants to discuss.
Williams revealed during Ole Miss’ Pro Day last week that he will have official top-30 visits with three teams: the Dallas Cowboys, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Packers. (Hat tip to Zach Kruse of Packers Wire for spotting this report.)
Between his Combine and Pro Day workouts, Williams has displayed tremendous athletic ability, running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.46 seconds at just under 6-foot-4 and 261 pounds. He followed that up with a 3-cone time of 7.03 seconds at Pro Day last week, giving him a Relative Athletic Score of 9.71 as a defensive end.
Then there is Williams’ stat line. After arriving at Ole Miss as a junior college transfer in 2019, he stepped in as an immediate starter and posted six sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and an interception in 12 games. After a four-sack campaign in 2020 that saw him play in ten games, Williams’ 2021 season saw him rank second in the SEC in sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (15) while leading the conference with an impressive four forced fumbles.
That is rare production for a pass-rusher in an elite conference, and it is a rare blend of athleticism that Williams possesses. Off the field, however, Williams will be answering questions about legal charges that he faced during the summer of 2020.
Williams was arrested in July of that year on one felony count of sexual battery and was released on $25,000 bond. The Rebels immediately suspended him from football activities while the legal case was in process, but reinstated him in early September when the charges against him were dropped.
Few details have emerged about the case against Williams. In 2021, The Daily Journal, a local newspaper in Mississippi, requested records pertaining to the case from the Oxford Police Department, but did not receive the records before publishing a profile on Williams. In a quote from that article, Williams said that after he was cleared, “I just stopped hanging out with people I didn’t trust...It was a bad moment.”
Surely, the Packers will ask Williams some heavy questions about that situation and his response to it over the last two years. That is a common trend for the Packers’ front office over the last decade or so, as the team has frequently scheduled Top-30 visits for players with significant off-the-field questions. Perhaps the most notable example of this approach was back in 2017, when the team brought in Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. Mixon was famously caught on video punching a woman in the face, and was not allowed to participate in drills or interviews at the Scouting Combine that year. During their 2016 draft prep, the Packers also interviewed pass rusher Noah Spence, who was dismissed from Ohio State amid drug charges.
Also notable in light of Williams’ scheduled visit is the fact that the Packers recently signed free agent tackle Jarran Reed to a one-year deal. Reed was suspended for six games in 2019 as a result of a domestic violence incident in 2017, an incident that did not result in an arrest nor any charges.