The SideLion Report’s Detroit Lions Draft Profiles series gives an in-depth scouting analysis of college football players who could be on the Detroit Lions’ radar in the 2015 NFL Draft.
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With the re-signing of Rashean Mathis and a rising star in third year player Darius Slay, the Detroit Lions appear to have their top two corners set heading into the 2015 season. However, that hasn’t stopped that team from continuing to do their homework at the position, as evidenced by visits to Allen Park from four cornerback prospects to date.
One of the four cornerback invitees was P.J. Williams, the standout junior from Florida State. Williams was subsequently arrested and charged with DUI, though he has since pled not guilty. How or if the alleged discretion will affect his draft status depends on whether teams determine through their character investigations that it was a one-time lapse in judgment or a potentially disturbing trend.
Putting the character issue aside and focusing solely on football production, I gave Williams a 6.9 J grade (early second round) after evaluating four games (Louisville, Miami, Florida, Oregon). Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:
P.J. Williams, CB – Florida State
Height: 6000 Weight: 194 40 Time: 4.57
NFL Comparison: Carlos Rogers, Oakland Raiders
Strong Points: Possesses desirable length and weight for the position. Showcases fluid movement skills when changing direction and above average long speed. Keys off the QB, diagnoses and reacts quickly. Patient when pressing the line and generally does not allow free release. Is field aware – will make plays outside his primary responsibility. Physical – does not shy away from contact and is outstanding in run support. Plays with swagger and competes hard on every snap. Special Teams experience. Durable.
Weak Points: Lacks elite speed and vertical threats can separate. Does not possess a second gear to recover if he loses a step. Is not a quick-twitch athlete and can be a bit slow to re-direct vs. sharp cuts. Struggles maintaining leverage at the top of the stem when in Off Man. Possible character red flags and background will warrant thorough investigation. Can be overaggressive as a tackler and miss plays he should make.
Summary: A two year starter, Williams is probably best remembered for his Defensive MVP performance in the 2013 BCS Championship match-up where he notched seven tackles and an INT. There’s a lot to like about the former four-star recruit from Ocala’s Vanguard. Williams is physical, competitive and an excellent run support defender. Mentally he appears to consistently read and react quickly to what he sees. He will need to play in a predominantly bump-and-run scheme where he can use his size to re-direct and maintain leverage off the snap. On tape, his lack of quick-twitch movement skills allow faster receivers to gain separation, especially when he’s in Off Man coverage. Good-sized, bump-and-run corner who should be able to contribute early in nickel and dime packages and start as a number two on the outside by year two. Physicality and run support skills could lead some teams to consider him at safety.
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