One of the stalwarts of the Denver defense, D.J. Williams, took a big step Sunday toward becoming a career Bronco.
Recently named a captain for the 2008 season by his teammates, the fifth-year linebacker signed a five-year contract extension through the 2013 season, Head Coach Mike Shanahan announced.
Williams got started early after his was chosen in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He became the first rookie in Broncos history to lead the club in tackles with 114 stops in 2004 en route to finishing third in NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting and earning Pro Football Weekly/PFWA all-rookie honors that season. And he hasn’t stopped since, never missing a game since his rookie campaign. He has played in all 64 regular season games, and started all three playoff games — the only Broncos defender to see time in all 67 games during that span.
Known primarily as a weak side linebacker, last season Williams played at the middle linebacker position for the first time in his career. During the 2007 campaign he was credited with a team-high 170 tackles, the most by a Denver player in five seasons. According to press box statistics, he led the AFC and was second in the NFL in tackles. That says something about the ability Williams has to dominate on the defensive side of the ball.
Now in 2008, Williams will line up at a position with which he is more comfortable, switching with Nate Webster, who will now take over the Mike linebacker position.
Williams has had a knack for the ball during his career. In addition to his 438 career tackles, he has racked up four sacks, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. That versatility was something the Broncos didn’t want anywhere else in the league, and Sunday’s move cemented Williams in Denver for quite some time.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com