Sunday, March 08, 2015

2015 NFL Draft #36 - PJ Williams, CB, Florida State

I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can. Find all the profiles here.
P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State - 6'0, 194 - Junior - 4.57 40
Florida State's P.J. Williams answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Florida State's P.J. Williams answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Every year, it seems, the Florida State Seminoles give us a host of prospects to examine and as anyone who follows this knows, that school is right up there with the best in terms of putting many players in the NFL ranks every year.  They simply are one of those NFL machines.  And this year is no exception, as there are double-digit prospects in the 2015 draft that played for the Seminoles, and obviously, they won a ton of games.  Williams was one of the very highest ranked Florida State players, a corner with exceptional size and skills, as well as a resume that is quite impressive.  The job here is always to attempt to figure out how much of his success is due to his quality and how much of it is due to being on a team with talent everywhere and that usually is the best team on the field.  He cannot bring his team with him to the NFL.  It should also be said that PJ had a moment or two off the field that teams will want to look into with regards to character and personal conduct.   To examine Williams, we looked at Virginia, Clemson, Louisville, and Oregon.
What I liked:  Williams is a player with exceptional physical tools as he dominated the broad jump and the vertical leap in his positional group, as well as a decent enough 40-time.  He is a big, physical player who wants to play press-coverage in your face on most routes and does it very convincingly.  He wants to win with his close proximity and battle level which is most impressive.  It is hard to think you would win too many routes short against Williams.  He is a menace going north.  I love his game heading up field to the line of scrimmage where he is a willing and able tackler and attacker of WR screens or on those very common corner blitzes.  In that respect, it is a little like watching the diminutive LaMarcus Joyner from the 2014 draft.  Plays aggressive, plays fast, and plays physical at the point of attack.  Also seems like the type of player who is well studied and can read plays in front of him very well.  He may be the best run-support corner on the board.
What I did not like:  Unfortunately, for all the things he does really well, I am not sure he is very good at the most important element for a press corner, and that is the ability to press-man his cover with effectiveness.  He seemed to lose sight of the ball on many occasions - especially on routes down the field and his lack of overall awareness of where the ball is at and when it is going to arrive made him a rather easy mark at times in space for some of the better receivers he was trying to cover.  In particular, Louisville's Devante Parker - a projected 1st round wide receiver - had a real field day against Williams as he was able to lose him with moves on a few occasions and then win balls because Williams lost track of it.  Honestly, cover skills and confidence that he won't need safety help to avert disaster is quite disconcerting if you want to spend a 1st round pick on a corner.
Summary:  There are countless things to like about Williams, but like I said above, I count it a major red flag when I am not just crazy about the cover skills of a press corner.  He is so good going forward, blitzing, and offering a play-maker's knack for big plays, I wonder if we are looking at a real impressive safety who has been playing corner in college.  I would be tempted to feel that is his best position and consider a position conversion, but because of the need for corners all over the NFL, I highly doubt someone wouldn't try him in the NFL at the corner spot, first.  If teams believe he is the type of guy to sit on an island against another team's top WR, then they are throwing caution and his college tape to the wind.  He is a real nice player, but I don't think he would last long as a press corner on Sundays.  He just doesn't seem to have the natural instincts to handle a quick threat in space and then find the ball at the moment of truth.  With that in mind, I would not value him as high as most, because if I am taking a corner in the 1st round, it is because I believe he can dominate his man in tight coverage at the next level. You can view plenty of his tape here at

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