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Scouting The Draft: P.J Williams, Cornerback, Florida State

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We continue to look at some of the top prospects in the NFL draft by focusing in on a highly rated corner from Florida State.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

P.J Williams was voted defensive MVP for the 2013 BCS champion Florida State Seminoles, and that should really speak volumes about the talent that this young man possesses.

Rated as a 4* prospect by every media outlet, Williams had a choice of defensive powerhouses recruiting him, including the likes of Alabama and Miami. Having played both corner and safety, as well as wide receiver, he was a utility man known for his speed and ball-hawking ability. After choosing to play in Florida for the Seminoles he was instantly contributing to the team his freshman year.

He played sparingly his freshman year, but truly blossomed in 2013 when thrust into a starting role. His interception and tackle for a loss at the start of the 4th quarter against Auburn in the BCS changed the momentum of the contest, allowing Florida State to come back and win it all. His 10 pass break-ups and 3 interceptions put him among the best in the ACC and he looked every bit the ball-hawk he was hyped to be.

I really thought Williams was set for a massive 2014, but that never really happened. He finished the year with a single sack and a single interception and he was beat a lot more than you'd want from a first round selection. When faced with an elite receiver, at times he struggled, and in the NFL... you're probably coming up against an elite receiver every single week.

I would actually be tempted to move Williams back to the safety position at the next level.

Measurables

Height: 6'0

Weight: 196lb's

Year: Junior

Projected 40: 4.4

Statistics

Year Tackles For A Loss Sacks Interceptions Pass Defenses Forced Fumbles
2014 60 6.5 1 1 10 1
2013 35 1.5 0 3 10 0
2012 14 1.0 0 0 1 0

Positives

  • Speed. He really does have elite speed and range as a corner, has been timed under 4.4 and will be interesting to see how he runs at the combine.
  • Fluid: When you watch Williams play the game, he is an extremely fluid athlete, getting in and out and tracking the receivers' cuts.
  • Reading: He keeps his eyes on the QB while maintaining a feel for his receiver. Leads to jumping routes and beating the receiver to the spot of the ball.
  • Confidence: Williams has a swagger on the field and you'll catch him chirping at receivers as much as possible to get in their head, doesn't struggle for self-confidence.
  • Length & Timing: Williams showcases a nice length and good timing to jam the ball away from receivers and get his arms in at the right moment to distract the receiver, but not bring a flag.
  • Closing & Run Support: Comes up and plays the run well, takes on blockers willingly and fights through a lot of traffic to get to the ball carrier.

Negatives

  • Consistency: He has a lot of consistency problems, can struggle for technique and balance when flipping to run with receivers, footwork can be sloppy and hand placement can be incorrect.
  • Double Move: He got beat by too many double moves. This can be attributed to his aggressive style and he bites on pump fakes and double moves.
  • Strength: He's willing and he'll leave everything on the field, but he'll get bullied by bigger more physical receivers in the NFL.
  • Panic Moments: He struggles with balance and then needs to use his speed to make up lost ground. Unfortunately when he does this, he often doesn't get his head turned around and he'll draw lots of flags for this in the NFL.
  • Playmaking: Coming out of high school, he was seen as a ball hawk.... in 2014 he was anything but. He dropped interceptions and got beat on jump balls consistently.
  • Tackling: Doesn't wrap up consistently.

Conclusion

I like P.J Williams, I really do. However, I worry about him as a corner at the next level. He's another Kyle Wilson candidate. Plays the ball a lot better in front of him, can be over-aggressive allowing receivers to get in behind and can really improve his tackling. Most of the problems come when his back is to the play, similar to Wilson. If you put him in a position where he can view the field, he uses his speed and instincts to make some plays.

Some are saying he's a sure first rounder. I'm not 100% confident in that. He has some glaring weaknesses in his game that I think may be exposed at the NFL level. However, if switching him to a safety, I think that could really work because of his speed, range and instincts to get to the point of the pass before the receiver. He also comes up and sifts through traffic well, too.

As a first round corner, I'm not that confident that he can make an instant impact. Some team will probably take a chance on him.

Would I draft him for the Jets?

Honestly, I would say no, simply because I'm not 100% sold that he translates as an NFL corner of the elite level, and if I'm spending a first round draft pick, I don't want as many question marks. He could come in and be great and he has the right attitude, but it may take some time for him to be effective.

The Jets have drafted Wilson and Milliner over the last 4 years or so and neither have impressed to the extent you'd like from a first round corner. So I think it's time we signed veteran corners for Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle to learn from. We missed the boat last year so we can't do the same again.

I like Williams, but there are too many question marks for me to want to take him in the first round, let alone the top 10. If he's there in the second round, which I think he could well be, then I'd be interested for sure.

Draft Grade: 76

90-100 = Exceptional Talent

80-90 = Impact Player

70-80 = NFL Starter

60-70 = Solid NFL Potential

50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed

>50 = Undraftable - Long Shot To Stick