Titans Select Kentucky LB Avery Williamson in Fifth Round


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans added Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Williamson, who is believed to be the first player from Milan, Tenn. to be drafted, was picked with the 151st overall pick. Williamson shared during a conference call his excitement about joining a pro team he watched on television as he was growing up and visited with before the draft.

"I really felt at home," Williamson said of his visit. "Lou Spanos, the linebackers coach, I felt really good with him. I felt like he is a great linebackers coach, is a great teacher and I can really jell with him really well."

Williamson was also excited about joining a position group that now includes fellow former Kentucky linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who joined Tennessee as a free agent this offseason.

"That was the first thing I thought about," Williamson said. "I'm going to be able to play beside him. I'll have somebody great to look up to and to guide me, especially in my first year. It's going to be great. I've watched him play at Denver and stuff. The fact I'm going to be a teammate with him is crazy. I'm really excited right now."

New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Titans believe Williamson will be able to help in multiple situations.

"He's an inside guy, we think, that can play multiple downs, that has a little bit of flexibility positionally and can play both of the inside (linebacker) positions," Whisenhunt said. "And we felt like he was a good football player."

The Titans used their fifth-round pick (151 overall) on Kentucky LB Avery Williamson. (AP Photos)

Williamson started 21 of the 49 games he played at Kentucky and finished his Wildcats career with 296 tackles. He responded to moving into the starting lineup his final two seasons with 135 tackles (70 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks as a junior in 2012 and had 102 tackles (46 solo), four tackles for loss and one sack this past season.

Titans director of college scouting Blake Beddingfield said the team is "always looking for a player like Avery."

"He's got great intangibles. He's a leadership-type player, he's been a special teams player, he's an inside backer," Beddingfield said. "Like Coach said, he can probably play multiple positions as well as special teams. This is a kid that's been productive on a high level of football versus very good competition. (He) played injured a little bit this year and played through it and was very tough. This is a kid that's got a lot going for him."

Williamson said he also visited Miami and New England but didn't know where he'd be picked. Titans Online spoke with Williamson during the 2014 NFL Combine, where Williamson thought he was able to boost his draft stock.

"It was important to me. (Projections) had me listed as a free agent before that, like seventh round or a free agent," Williamson said. "It was huge for me to show out at the combine and do good. I really had to shine and take advantage of it."

Williamson said he watched the draft from its beginning Thursday until he was selected and asked friends and even his girlfriend to keep from calling him Saturday.

"I've been staying tuned, been on the phone, looking at who had the next pick. This is the most I've ever paid attention to it," Williamson said. "My girlfriend was the last person that called me, and I was like, 'Please, don't call anymore,' because I didn't want to feel like it was a team calling, and I'm looking down. I told everybody, 'No calls.'

"She didn't take it too hard. I made sure I told her she was going to be the first person I called," he added. "My phone is blowing up. It's so crazy. It's a crazy feeling. I never would have thought it would be me to be the one to go pro. It's a crazy feeling. I can finally eat something now and relax."

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