With the amount of top end talent at safety in this draft (Adams, Hooker, Baker), along with the absolute freakish Combine UConn Obi Melifonwu posted in Indy, it can be easy to forget that there is plenty of talent beyond the first round that can contribute immediately.
Over the last week I’ve been looking at these forgotten names and Utah safety Marcus Williams’ was the most impressive of that second tier for a number of reasons. In fact, if it wasn’t for Melifonwu’s absurd Combine, chances are that Williams would be receiving a lot of love right now. Williams has his flaws for sure, and needs to pack on some pounds while maintaining his playing speed, but the needle is pointing up on this turnover machine.
Utah S Marcus Williams is at his best when he can watch the QB & read his eyes. pic.twitter.com/7v9Q6wmqez
— Michael Kist (@MichaelJKist) March 19, 2017
Name: Marcus Williams
Size: 6’1″ / 202
Comparison: Kerry Rhodes (Jets/Cardinals)
Draft Grade: Mid Round 2
Combine: 40 Time – 4.56, Bench – 14 Reps, Vertical – 43.5″, Broad – 129″, 3 Cone – 6.85, 20 Shuttle – 4.20, 60 Shuttle – 11.26
Positives: Fluid athlete with smooth hips when moving laterally. Very good range; works to sideline and stacks vertical routes. Instinctual player; at his best when playing centerfield and reading the quarterback. Adept at undercutting deep crosses and digs. Hawk with plus ballskills; 10 INTs in last two years. Jumps out the gym and will have no trouble contesting in the air. Click and close with good timing when breaking up passes at the catch point. Plays with smart angles with the ball in the air. Secure enough as a tackler when working with proper angles. Plenty of experience as a 3 year starter.
Negatives: Has a hitch when turning and running. Not good out of phase; misjudges when back is turned and has to make a play. Will lose routes in periphery when bird dogging the quarterback’s eyes and can be manipulated. Susceptible to play action in red area or when playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Takes some bad angles to outside runs. Either catching and dragging or taking the brunt of the hit as a tackler. Needs to add bulk to frame. Will go for knockout blow when turned instead of getting head around and playing the ball.
Outlook: Williams projects as a free safety and should be used further off the ball to take advantage of his range, ability to read the quarterback, and attack in the air. Williams will contribute immediately as a special teamer and has the athleticism to contribute early as a nickel but will have to refine his technique in that area.