Avery Williamson had to wait through a few rounds, but Saturday the Titans made it well worth his wait.
With the 151st pick in the NFL Draft, the Kentucky linebacker learned that he would get to start his professional in his home state of Tennessee.
After being a vocal and emotional leader at Kentucky for the past couple of seasons, Williamson will have to get used to being a rookie again, but he’ll have a fellow UK linebacker, Wesley Woodyard, to show him the ropes.
Williamson, a 6-foot-1, 246-pounder from Milan, Tenn., was selected early in the fifth round by a Titans team he told the Herald-Leader he planned to visit in early April.
Likely an undrafted free agent a few short months ago, Williamson improved his stock with impressive combine performances, including finishing 11th or better in four of the six workouts for his position, including bench press (eighth) with 25 of them, broad jump (ninth), three-cone drill (11th) and third in the 20-yard shuttle.
Williamson was the fifth selection in this year’s draft by the Titans, who took Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan in the first round, Washington running back Bishop Sankey in the second round and Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones and Wyoming safety Marqueston huff in the fourth round.
Kentucky has had at least one player taken in the NFL Draft every year since 2008, including most recently Larry Warford (Lions, third round) in 2013, Winston Guy (Seahawks, sixth) and Danny Trevathan (Broncos, sixth) in 2012 and Randall Cobb (Packers, second) in 2011.
In his senior season at Kentucky, Williamson finished seventh best in the nation with 102 tackles. He finished his UK career with 296 tackles, including 10 for a loss, two interceptions and three recovered fumbles.
As a high school player in Milan, which is in the western part of Tennessee, Williamson played in two state championship games, including setting a state championship game record with 22 tackles.
In his senior season at Milan, Williamson had 125 tackles with one interception.