ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Antwione Williams got up early Saturday morning and made sure he had his phone close by. He didn’t know when he’d be drafted and had no clue by which team, but he wanted to be sure he could answer the phone.
He started passing time around the house in Lovejoy, Georgia, during the draft by helping his father. So when his phone rang with a Detroit area code on it, he was a bit busy. He was helping install a dishwasher.
“Our dishwasher gave out on us a couple months ago, so my parents actually bought another one [Saturday],” Williams said. “So I was just in the house helping my dad ground it and put the connections back in.”
Dishwasher installation was merely the latest of housework chores Williams had done in the past. He said he’s fixed his family’s roof and worked in the garden as well.
“Did a lot growing up,” Williams said. “I’m a Southern boy, so I did a little bit of everything. I’m well-versed in stuff.”
He stopped what he was doing when the phone rang because he also knew what the call meant. He was about to be drafted by the Detroit Lions as the team took him in the fifth round. Williams was the most unknown of Detroit’s draft picks.
He didn’t come from a major program and had not been a combine superstar -- in fact, he was not invited to the combine. He had 107 tackles during his senior season at Georgia Southern, showing a different type of handiwork -- football handiwork.
Williams is known as a fierce hitter and played all three linebacker spots at Georgia Southern, although he’s expected to play an outside linebacker spot with Detroit. General manager Bob Quinn said he’ll compete “at all three spots,” but he’s more than likely in line for a chance to play strongside or weakside roles.
"When you watch that level of football, you really want the player to jump out, like he’s dominating that level of competition," Quinn said. "I thought he played very well at that level of competition and we really thought it would translate to our league to watch him on special teams, on defense. He’s a versatile guy. He can blitz, he can cover, he can play the run, so at the end of the day we thought he was a good player to add."
His best bet to get on the field early would be on the strongside, considering DeAndre Levy is expected to return healthy from a hip injury to reclaim his job on the weak side. Williams would be in a competition with former second-round pick Kyle Van Noy, Josh Bynes and others for the strongside role.
But on Saturday, the psychology major was merely focused on his own excitement from being drafted -- and getting back to helping install the dishwasher.
He said the dishwasher wasn’t a draft present to his parents “initially,” but now that he’s been selected in the NFL draft, “it might be.”