The Arizona Cardinals may have gotten an unproven commodity when they selected Brandon Williams in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
But Williams might have a better opportunity than higher-rated draft picks to legitimize himself. ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. placed the 6-foot, 200-pound rookie as one of three corners on his preseason All-Rookie team.
Jalen Ramsey, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fifth overall pick, and Vernon Hargreaves III, the Tampa Bay Bucanneers’ 11th overall pick, join Williams on the list.
Rookie cornerbacks always have some serious lows to go with flashes of good play, but these guys have a chance to be pretty good pretty soon. Ramsey does more than cover, because he’s physical and fearless as a tackler. Hargreaves should see a ton of time when the Bucs are in nickel, which will be plenty. Williams has impressed early, and the speedster looks set for a ton of PT.
Heading into the draft, Williams’ inclusion on the list looked hardly possible.
In his first year playing on the defensive side, the former running back quickly built his draft stock with Texas A&M, and experts didn’t especially think Arizona was reaching by selecting him in the third round.
Still, this was a cornerback-heavy draft. Five cornerbacks went in the first round, four went in the second and another four went before Williams became the Cardinals’ 29th pick in the third round.
With Arizona’s position depth chart thin after Patrick Peterson, it’s Williams who might have as good of a chance as any rookie cornerback to show what he’s capable of.
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