Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills DT DeShawn Williams

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills DT DeShawn Williams

Further addressing the depth at defensive line, the Buffalo Bills signed DT DeShawn Williams on Thursday. The well-traveled defensive tackle has appeared to find his role over the past several years finding more consistent playing time with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers after entering the league in 2016. Williams has appeared in 66 games with 46 starts, all since 2020. 

Despite Williams coming well-traveled, he also comes with less miles on his body than someone his age. He does have several injuries but has the potential to have a fresher motor than his counterparts. 

Below is DeShawn Williams publicly reported injury history and concerns. 

Injury History

2016 Cincinnati Bengals

No publicly reported injuries. Spent majority of season on the practice squad.

2017 Bengals

No publicly reported injuries. Spent season on practice squad.

2018 Denver Broncos/Miami Dolphins/Indianapolis Colts

No publicly reported injuries. Spent season on practice squad.

2019 Broncos/Calgary Stampede

No publicly reported injuries. Spent offseason/training camp with Broncos. Signed with Stampede in December 2019 but did not play due to COVID postponing the 2020 season.

2020 Broncos

Ankle injury, Week 10, missed 0 games.

Williams first appeared on the injury report due to an ankle injury and was questionable heading into Week 11, ultimately playing in 40 percent of defensive snaps and 8 percent of special teams snaps. 

Knee injury, Week 15, missed 0 games.

Williams reappeared on the injury report due to a knee injury against the Buffalo Bills. Despite the questionable designation, he suited up the following week and played his normal complement of snaps. 

2021 Broncos

Left Elbow injury, Week 15, missed 2 games, sent to IR.

Williams suffered a hyperextension of his left elbow in Week 15 that was severe enough in a losing season that forced him to injured reserve, missing the final two games. 

2022 Broncos

Back injury, Week 1, missed 0 games.

Williams missed Wednesday’s practice and later limited through the week due to a back injury sustained in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. While he did see a decline in defensive snaps the next week, this was not far off the snaps he played throughout the season. 

Back injury, Week 6, missed 0 games, questionable.

Williams’s back injury once again was a problem when it limited him in practice prior to Week 6. He was questionable heading into the game but played in a normal amount of snaps. 

Interestingly, in the waning moments of the same game, Williams also suffered a left leg injury and had to be helped off the field. He did not appear on the injury report the following week for this issue. 

Knee injury, Week 18, missed 0 games.

Williams suffered a knee injury in the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was initially questionable and it’s not clear if he returned to the game. 

2023 Carolina Panthers

Illness, Week 1, missed 0 games. 

Williams missed some practice prior to Week 1 due to illness but had no designation heading into the game. 

Knee injury, Week 13, missed 1 game.

Williams missed Week 14 following a knee injury sustained in Week 13 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was able to return the following week in a reduced role only playing 21 percent of defensive snaps. 

Injury Analysis

Looking at everything as a whole, there isn’t much to take away. Several knee injuries along with two back injuries and an elbow hyperextension. 

Nothing stands out as a concern as the back and knee injuries are expected at the position and they did not lead to a lot of missed time. Without further details, it’s difficult to determine if there should be any concerns due to the lack of information. 

His elbow injury is very similar to what Jordan Poyer went through several years ago but Williams had the benefit of going to injured reserve. He was able to properly rehab it and looking at pictures of him in a Panthers uniform does not show that he is wearing a brace. 

There may be preseason injuries that cost him missed time that were not included, but typically that information reveals itself through research. If he did have injuries then, they were fairly minor and overall inconsequential.

Williams looks to be a signing that can step in when called upon as steady depth. How much playing time he ends up getting may be determined by what draft picks come in and what injuries occur. 

There are zero concerns injury-wise moving forward on what is likely a league minimum deal for one year. Hopefully DeShawn Williams continues to produce on a revamped Buffalo defensive line. 

Top Photo Credit: Tanner Antill/X