Seahawks Sign FB/H-Back Eddie Williams, Release TE Dominique Byrd

As first reported by Dies and Kaplan, (an ESPN radio show in Spokane), the Seahawks have signed FB Eddie Williams to their 53-man roster today. Eric Williams has confirmed that he has been signed and TE Dominique Byrd has been released to make room for Williams on the roster. 

It was expected that the Seahawks would be looking around for a replacement for injured Michael Robinson, and Williams' versatility is likely what makes him attractive to the Seahawks.

Eddie Williams is a 3rd year player out of Idaho. In his senior year at Idaho, he caught 54 passes for 687 yards and 6 TDs. He was drafted by the Redskins in the seventh round in 2009. He broke his leg in November of that year at practice and was IRd. He was released after passing his physical in March and the Bears picked him up. 

Williams was with the Bears in training camp early this season and was first on their depth chart for a time. He reported to Bears camp after he, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago"spent the summer adding muscle to improve his production in the blocking department. 

"I put on a lot of weight, I was lighter last year and much more raw. This year I'm dialed in a little more and feel more controlled. It's been fun (getting first team reps) because the best thing is getting to play against a good defense every day in practice, some of the top linebackers and defensive linemen, and actually knowing what it's like to face a good team is really helpful."

The Bears released Williams on September 2nd, he was added to the Browns practice squad on Sept. 7th, and now has signed with the Seahawks on Sept 13th. 

As Thomas pointed out, the CBA stipulates that the Williams will count as a member of the 53-man roster for three games (three weeks), even if we cut him before that:

Club B is required to count the player on its 53-player Active/Inactive List for three games (a bye week counts as a game) even if he is terminated, traded, or assigned via waivers to another club or is signed as a free agent to another club's 53-player roster or another club's Practice Squad prior to that time.

Personally, I like the signing. From what you read about the guy, he's basically (on paper) what I've been pining for these last few months -- a versatile and dependable pass-catching fullback/h-back type player. He's probably a guy that's going to play special teams a lot. Which is good.

It's a bummer about Dominique Byrd, who had a great camp. But as Scott Enyeart points out, Bryd may rejoin the team once Michael Robinson is healthy again and Williams will likely just be just the stopgap until then. Also, Byrd would probably have lost his roster spot to Cameron Morrah when he returns from the PUP list anyway. Good points by Scott. 

Here are some scouting reports on Eddie Williams:

Sports Illustrated

BIOGRAPHY: Two-year starter awarded all-Conference honors as a senior after leading Idaho in receiving with totals of 54/687/6. Junior totals included 29/363/3.

POSITIVES: "Quick and explosive pass catcher who consistently makes plays in the secondary. Immediately gets off the line into routes, displays terrific concentration, and possesses a lot of natural receiving skills. Adjusts well to the errant throw, looks the pass into his hands and makes the reception in stride. Runs well and plays faster than his forty time. Displays tremendous vision as a blocker or pass catcher, and consistently finds the open space in the defense. Smashes opponents and works hard to finish blocks."

NEGATIVES: Possesses a thin build and just average strength as a blocker. Struggles to handle opposing linebackers.

ANALYSIS: "Williams has displayed terrific progress the past two seasons, and he has shown himself to be an offensive threat as well as a willing blocker. His build and body type may necessitate a switch from his college position of tight end to fullback at the next level. He offers potential in a West Coast system that takes advantage of his quickness, movement skills, and intelligent play."

CBS Sports:

Positives: Adequate upper and lower body build. Reliable hands, and can extend and snatch the ball outside his frame. Adjusts to low and high passes. Lines up outside, in the slot, on the line and as an H-back. Used on quick screens to get the ball in his hands. Always seems to find the hole in the zone to present a target. Sells the fake well, getting his head around quickly to find the ball.

Lowers his pads to bowl over defensive backs and get extra yardage. Has some elusiveness and ability to break tackles in the open field. Fair release off the line, and uses his hands to free himself of jams. Good blocker downfield, getting his hands inside the jersey and sustaining with quick feet. Used on special teams coverage units and is able to wrap up or pound return men on the fly.

Negatives: Finding a position may be an issue. Below average height and strength to play tight end or H-back, but was not used as a lead blocker in Idaho's offense. Struggles to anchor or sustain blocks against defensive ends or bigger linebackers. Will cut block, albeit effectively, in pass protection instead of standing up to blitzers. Doesn't have the straight-line speed to threaten the seam or separate from NFL linebackers and safeties.

Per NFL's Combine Page:

"Williams looks like a fullback and plays like a wide receiver. His production (54 catches, 687 yards, six touchdowns) and leadership made him the team's 2008 Most Valuable Player. And his versatility put him on the NFL draft map. Whether it's at fullback or H-back, the versatility of the first-team All-WAC pick could make him a tough player to keep off someone's roster next September. Had an arm span of 31 3/4 inches and a hand span of 9 inches at the combine."

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