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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile Marcus Williams, S, Utah

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Williams is a very productive free safety. Might he join Landon Collins in the defensive backfield?

Arizona v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The New York Giants are set in the defensive secondary. Or at least they are if everything goes right. However, as good as Landon Collins was in 2016, the safety position could be a bit fragile.

Darian Thompson is still working his way back from a foot injury that claimed most of his rookie season. Andrew Adams performed better than anyone could have hoped as an undrafted free agent, but he still lost snaps to Leon Hall when the games mattered the most. Finally Nat Berhe is an exciting player and a fearsome hitter, but his propensity toward concussions has reached the point where it has to be a concern for the young man’s future.

The Giants need to take all of that into consideration as they approach a draft that is incredibly deep in the defensive secondary. They might not take a defensive back with their first pick, but it might be in consideration on the second day of the draft.

Utah’s Marcus Williams is still a relatively quiet name nationally, but he has also risen up draft boards and has a reputation as a talented and rangy free safety. Let’s take a closer look and see if the Giants should be interested.

Measurables

Pros

  • True free safety. Has the range to man the deep center field in a Cover 1 shell or come down and play coverage as a corner.
  • Is a playmaker. Has come up with 11 interceptions, 8 passes defensed, and 4 forced fumbles at Utah.
  • Does not shy away from contact. Willing tackler and active in the run game.
  • Competitive player, plays with some swagger.

Cons

  • Needs to take better angles to the ball. Finds himself out of position too often.
  • Occasionally shows some indecision.
  • Could stand to get better locating the ball in man coverage.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

If the Giants aren’t sure about Darian Thompson’s health going forward or who much of a ceiling Andrew Adams has, then Williams is a solid fit.

The Giants’ defense is predicated on multiple coverage schemes, and dialing up pressure from all over the defense. That brand of defense simply can’t work without reliable safety play. Williams has the range and fluidity to play any coverage scheme, from man coverage in Cover 0, to center field in Cover 1, to quarters coverage in Cover 4.

He also has a ballhawking mentality and swagger that would fit in well with the rest of the Giants’ secondary. Williams needs to improve his anticipation and choosing more efficient angles to the football, but the Giants have excellent secondary coaches who can teach him.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 68th overall

CBS Sports - 50th overall

Draft Countdown - 57th overall

Draft Tek - 48th overall

Final Thoughts

The 2017 NFL Draft is so ridiculously deep in the defensive secondary that if a team needs, or even wants, a good one, they would have to actively try to not find one.

This draft not only has players from traditional football factories like Alabama and Ohio State, but is also features talented players from smaller schools across the country. Marcus Williams is just one of these players, but he should hear his name called before Friday is out. Rangy free safeties don’t last long in the draft, and he is the only player in the country with at least five interceptions in each of the last two years.