There was a time when it looked like Deunta Williams might be one of the first safeties to go off the board in the 2011 NFL Draft. His senior year at North Carolina, however, did a lot to diminish his stock. It started with a four game suspension as a result of that school's widespread agent scandal. His production as a pass defender went down when he returned in part to the continuing suspensions of some of his teammates like Marvin Austin depleting the Tar Heels of talent and forcing him to play close to the line more to stop the run. His season ended with a broken leg in the Music City Bowl that required surgery, prevented him from working out for teams, and probably hurt his stock quite a bit.
Williams came to North Carolina as a wide receiver. He switched to the defensive backfield after arriving and was a four year starter. He established himself as a playmaker with 12 interceptions his first three years at Carolina. He is very good at diagnosing plays in front of him, and his receiver experience predictably means he has good hands. He has good instincts and a knack for finding the ball carrier.
The biggest knock on him is probably that he can get burned trying to make the big play, getting too aggressive at times. That means biting on fakes in coverage or trying to deliver the big hit instead of the sure tackle in run support.
He has adequate speed and athleticism to hold up in man and deep zone. He is also big enough to play well against the run. He is essentially a guy with measurables that are good enough. His nose for the ball, instincts, and other intangibles set him apart.
It is not clear what any team that signs him can expect in 2011. It depends on the leg. That was enough to scare teams off from picking him. Broken bones do regrow stronger so a team willing to make a long term investment might end up with a good player. It is not clear he would provide immediate help for the Jets at safety, but the Jets could groom him to become a center field type player to play deep zone if they are interested.