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Who the hell will they draft 2008: Kent State CB Jack Williams

Jack Williams might be the only corner Bill Polian drafts this year.
First of all, congrats to Kansas fans everywhere. I was rooting for them last night, and for their coach Bill Self. I remember a few years ago he got a highly ranked Kansas team into the tourney only to lose in the second round. Everyone wanted his head on a pike. Now, he's the Prince of Lawrence. Meanwhile, the incompetent John Calipari continues to show us how to lose games down the stretch. I have nothing against Memphis, but Calipari is a total boob and I had issue with him losing, again.

But basketball is not what we are here for. We're here for football, and the NFL Draft is two-and-a-half weeks away! OMG! I Can't wait to smell the sweet hair grease oozing from Mel Kiper's head. BTW, be sure to sign-up for the21eraser's NFL Mock Draft Contest. As we gear up for the draft, we'll continue doing profiles of players we think the Colts will pick. Today, we focus on Kent State CB Jack Williams.

I've included Jack Williams on a the last few mock drafts I've done, and people are starting to ask Who the hell is this guy? and Why the hell would the Colts draft ANOTHER cornerback? Well, to answer the second question, the conclusion I came to years ago is Bill Polian does not feel right about the draft unless he takes at least one CB or S for no damned reason whatsoever. For years, we've seen guys like Donald Strickland, Cory Bird, Indress Bashir, and Joseph Jefferson get drafted (usually in the third round) only to get cut a few years later. Last year, many scratched their heads at picking a safety (Brandon Condren) in round five when areas like DT were still a big concern. However, per usual, Polian made fools of us all. He signed a free agent rookie (Ed Johnson) and drafted Keyunta Dawson in the seventh round.

Polian is god, folks. Polian is god.

As for Who is this guy?, I'll simply state that Jack Williams is the proto-typical Cover 2 corner, and he would fit in perfectly with what Dungy and Polian like to do in the secondary. For example, look at these measurements:

Height: 5'9, Weight: 178

I could be talking about Donald Strickland, Jason David, or Tim Jennings when I list those measurements, but I'm not. I'm talking about Jack Williams. As with all corners Polian looks at late in the draft, Williams is short. But, like with most other positions, height at CB is over-rated, especially if the corner is tough and can jump. Jack Williams can do both. He had a strong showing at the NFL Combine, displaying both strength and speed. Here's what has to say about him (via The Sports Xchange):

Track speed and exceptional jumping ability. ... Strong for his size, he's one of the few small corners with a decent bubble. ... Changes directions quickly and sticks to receivers. ... Reads the quarterback well and will come off his man to make a play. ... Will plant and drive to the ball -- and make the play (13 career interceptions). ... Good reaction to the tipped ball. ... A threat to take interceptions back to the end zone. ... Very aggressive cut blocker against the run (70 solo tackles in '07, five forced fumbles in ?06). ... Can also get off a receiver block to wrap up a ballcarrier in the open field. ... Typical Tampa-2 corner... Very good special teams coverage player.

13 career INTs. Wow! For comparison's sake, Thorpe Award winner Antoine Cason (a projected first round pick) has 15 college career INTs.

Before I go further, I'd like to direct you to skywalker's write-up of Jack Williams, which includes links and clips from What skywalker's diary tells us is Williams has a ton of experience at CB. He's not some converted WR or a CB in college who could only play S in the pros. Williams has started since his sophomore year, and his production has remained consistent year after year. The other thing you learn from skywalker's diary is Jack Williams is ALWAYs around the football. He recorded 4 recovered fumbles, 4 pass break-ups, 4 INTs, and 3 sacks his senior year. Williams also played a lot of special teams at Kent State, earning him the team's award for Defensive Back of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year. Williams' ability to play special teams would prove invaluable to him making the roster on a squad that, for the most part, has its secondary locked up. Marlin and Kelvin are the starters with Tim Jennings battling Dante Hughes, Keiwan Ratliff, and Michael Coe for nickel duty. I think Hughes will win the nickel job because he was really coming into his own before he got hurt last season.

Still, despite this heavy competition, Jack Williams could find his place on this roster, because when you look at his strengths, he is exactly the kind of dude you want smacking WRs on your defense:

A great athlete...Excellent speed and quickness...Outstanding leaper..Good hands and ball skills...Solid instincts and awareness..Reads and reacts well and he has a burst to close...Is very strong...Tough and physical...Gets a good jam at the line of scrimmage...Willing to come up and support the run..A hard worker...Team leader.
The speed and quickness will suit him well on special teams, and his ability to close on the ball carrier or on a live football is likely why he always seems to generate turnovers. Tony Dungy LOVES these kinds of guys. Despite Williams 5'9 size, he is apparently very physical when jamming WRs at the line of scrimmage. His speed and quickness allow him to recover well, and the sentence I bolded above makes him ideal for the Cover 2. All Cover 2 corners must be willing to come up and stop the run. Williams also comes across in interviews as a smart guy with a good knowledge of football.

His weaknesses? Well, to start, he grew up a Cowboys fan. This means that Jack was 10 years old the last time the Cowboys won a playoff game. Poor, poor Jack. I guess nobody's perfect. Jack's other weaknesses are his hips, which aren't very fluid when he turns to run. Again, he has the speed and quickness to run with many WRs, but if your hips don't turn quick when re-acting to a move, an NFL-caliber WR will eat you alive. More negatives, via

Size can be a detriment against larger receivers. ... Missed time with shoulder injury caused by tackle (durability when bringing down pro backs and receivers will be questioned). ... Definitely not a press corner. ... Has only returned a few kickoffs, which could be a nice feather in his cap when trying to make a team. ... Used on blitzes, but lacks the size and strength to beat even an average blocker. ... Will gamble at times to make the big play.
Williams has generated a lot of interest because when you compare his strengths with his weaknesses, he could turn into one helluva Tampa-2 style corner. He could go as high as round 3, but I think he should be there in round 4, and if he is the Colts (who have expressed interest in him) will take him. Unlike the Donald Stricklands of the past, this kid looks and sounds like someone who wants to make an impact. And he seems to have the tools to do just that.