Broncos sign top pick Sylvester Williams

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-07-25 15:26

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Denver's top draft pick, Sylvester Williams, signed a four-year, $7.6 million deal Thursday, completing an unlikely path from 19-year-old factory worker to NFL riches at 24.

Williams' deal includes a $3.9 million signing bonus and another $2.2 million in guarantees.

The 313-pound defensive tackle from North Carolina will vie for a starting job with veterans Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton.

Williams started just one football game in high school in Jefferson City, Mo., and was working at a factory making radiator parts when he decided to give the gridiron another chance and walked on at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

After two years there, he went on to star for the Tar Heels, and Denver made him the 28th overall pick in last April's draft.

Williams signed his deal shortly after the first workout of camp was complete, and with a walkthrough scheduled for the evening he technically wasn't a holdout. His signing means all 86 Broncos are under contract.

Last spring's draft was deep in defensive linemen but Williams was expected to be long gone by the time the Broncos picked. They scuttled plans to trade out of the first round for the second straight season when they saw him slipping down the draft board.

Broncos boss John Elway said afterward that Williams was the ``young anchor on the inside'' that the team had been pining for. The last defensive lineman selected with the team's top pick was Trevor Pryce, also at No. 28, in 1997, and Pryce went on to become a four-time Pro Bowler.

``This guy is a little better than Trevor,'' Elway said in the spring. ``Trevor was more of a pass rush, lighter type, quicker guy. Sylvester is very quick and sudden ... I tell you: I hope he has the career that Trevor had. Then we'll be in good shape.''


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org


Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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