The Cleveland Browns had a busy offseason that saw some big signings and trades. The 2019 NFL Draft had a different feeling for the Browns as the team did not have a first-round pick. But, the Browns still added seven new players through the draft. With their first selection of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Browns traded up to draft cornerback Greedy Williams of LSU in the second round.
Williams played in 12 games last year at LSU, notching 33 tackles, 11 passes defended and two interceptions. So, what are the Browns getting in their newest cornerback? Well, let’s take a look at the film to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of Williams, who recently signed his rookie deal.
Williams’ best asset in his game is his ability to mirror receivers in coverage. He is a smooth athlete with good feet to follow receivers in any which direction across the field. There were not many corners in the entire draft who could mirror pass catchers in man coverage like Williams. Here are some examples of his mirror skills.
The first play against Auburn is a situation where he is covering a receiver down the field on a back shoulder pass. Williams is able to stay on the inside hip of the receiver without giving up any sort of space between him and the receiver. He reads the body of the receiver and reacts instantly to the receiver turning around. Williams is able to swat the ball away and cause an incompletion because he mirrored the receiver so closely all the way down the field.
The second play versus Texas A&M is a situation where Williams is covering a receiver on a deep post route. The receiver comes off the line and starts his route downfield by going inside of Williams. Williams turns his back to the sideline and keeps the receiver inside and to his lower hip. With his back toward the sideline, he is able to keep his eyes on both the receiver and quarterback. He easily stays with the receiver down the field and when the receiver tries to push off him and head inside, Williams does not allow any sort of separation. The pass is thrown and with Williams right with the receiver, the LSU corner is able to cut underneath the receiver, which if the ball is thrown accurately would have allowed him to make a play on the ball.
The third play versus Texas A&M is a play where Williams shows off his ability to track receivers all over the field and in any direction. The receiver initially runs a slant route, which Williams shuts down easily, cutting underneath the receiver to shut off any passing lane. The receiver decides to stop that route and turn around back to the outside. The LSU corner, though, is able to turn quickly with the receiver and regain his position underneath the receiver to shut off the passing lane. Had it been an accurate pass, Williams would have been ready to make a play on the ball.
Quick Read and React Skills/Explosive Closing Ability
Williams is an explosive athlete with solid agility. He pairs these athletic traits with strong read and react skills. He uses this combination to be able to explode to the ball and closing on plays in quick fashion. This helps him as an off-ball cover corner and in situations where quick passes are thrown. Here are some examples of this trait.
The first play versus Texas A&M is a situation where Williams is in an off-ball coverage position against the left outside receiver. A&M runs a quick running back swing pass to the left flat. Williams quickly reads the play and explodes from his off-ball position to make a tackle attempt in the backfield. Williams misses the tackle, but he blows up the play allowing his teammates to finish it off.
The second play against Ole Miss is a play where Williams is zone coverage on the outside. Ole Miss calls a quick out route to the left sideline. Williams reads it incredibly quick and almost beats the receiver to the ball. He broke off his outside responsibility and broke down inside to get the immediate tackle on the pass catcher to prevent a third down conversion. He showed his quick recognition and ability to explode to the ball.
The last play versus Texas A&M is another example where Williams is in off-ball coverage. He perfectly diagnoses this pass and shows off his quick twitch to break on the ball. He is able to close on the ball and get in front of the receiver to knock the ball away. His quickness to stop and close almost earned him an interception.
Williams has the length and speed teams love to have in their corners. He is listed at 6-foot-2 with 31 1/2-inch arms. His length allows him to win in 50/50 balls and to be able to reach and affect passes that may be out of the reach for most corners. He pairs this length with explosive speed, as he showed at the NFL Combine when he ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash. His speed allows him to stay with any receiver in the league.
The first play against Texas A&M shows how his speed can make up for an early mistake. In man coverage, Williams is crossed up at the line of scrimmage when the receiver fakes to the outside and then cuts inside of Williams, causing the corner to spin all the way around. But, Williams does not panic. He uses his speed to easily recover and then is able to track the receiver all the way down the field without any safety help to cause an incompletion. He was step for step on this deep ball.
The second play versus Georgia is a play where his length helps him. In his off coverage position, Williams is lined up on the right sideline against the receiver running a post route. Williams breaks on the inside move of the receiver. He is able to tip the pass for an incompletion by going underneath the receiver and using his long reach to get to the ball. His size enabled him to make the play.
The last play versus Auburn is another situation where his length helps his game. Williams is in press coverage versus the receiver running an in route. Williams shows off his mirror skills here, sticking closely with the receiver across the field. But, he finishes the play off with his length. Williams was shadowing a big receiver and was able to reach around the big receiver to disrupt the catch by hitting the receiver’s arms right when the ball was coming to the receiver. His size allowed him to matchup with the big receiver.
One of Williams’ underrated strengths is his patience. He does not over-shuffle his feet when receivers do it at the line of scrimmage. He does not panic when beaten off the line. The LSU corner does not gamble often and he stays patient on his reads of the play. He is a patient player who just relies on his skills to make the play. Here are some examples of his patience.
In the first play versus Ole Miss, Williams is in off-man coverage versus receiver D.K. Metcalf running a stop and go route. The pump fake by the quarterback and the imposing threat of Metcalf could have caused Williams to bite on the fake. But, Williams did not bite. The corner stopped, but he did not close down on the receiver. He waited to see the play transpire and saw that it was just a fake. Williams’ patience allowed him to be in a position to make a play on the ball, which caused Metcalf to push him and force an offensive interference penalty.
The second play against Auburn is an example of his patient play at the line of scrimmage. Williams is in man coverage on the left sideline. The receiver starts his route with a shake to try and get Williams guessing which direction he is going. But, Williams does not try to make the receiver’s movements. The corner just keeps patient and backpedals without making a decisive move horizontally. This patience allows him to stick with the receiver down the field and to eventually pick off the pass.
Williams is not a great tackler at cornerback. He often goes for a diving attempt, rather than staying square to the target and running through the target. He also can lead with his head and many times he attacks the ball carrier without keeping his eyes on the target. Here are some examples.
The first play against Texas A&M was already featured earlier in the film room for his quick close on the play, but it is now featured for the end of the play here. When he closes on the running back, Williams goes low and turns his head away from the target, firing his shoulders into the running back. With his eyes not looking at the target, Williams almost completely misses the running back. He just gets the back a little bit, allowing the running back to stay upright.
The second play versus Ole Miss is another example of not finishing the play. Williams is in charge of shadowing the receiver who is crossing the field for a reverse run. Williams uses his speed to stay with the receiver and to be in a position to stop the receiver before he can get into the endzone. But once again, Williams turns his head and leads with his shoulders on a low diving attempt. He pretty much misses the receiver, allowing the receiver to get around the edge.
Williams can get too handsy in coverage. He can be in perfect coverage but still uses his hands too much. This can lead to penalties. Here are some examples of this.
The first play versus Georgia, Williams is in man coverage on the right sideline where the receiver is running a streak route. At the line of scrimmage, Williams tries to get a hand on the receiver, but the receiver goes to the outside and is not too affected by the jab. But, rather than trust his skill and athleticism, Williams grabs the receiver too long down the field and is called for a pass interference penalty. Williams was more interested in grabbing the receiver that it cost him the ability to stay in front of the receiver. He simply did not need to do this.
The second play against Auburn is another case where Williams is in man coverage versus a receiver running a streak route. The LSU corner is able to stick with the receiver and is running right behind the Auburn receiver’s outside hip. His athleticism and skill will allow him to be in position when the pass is made. But, the corner loses track of the ball and when he turns his head to look for the ball, Williams puts his hands on the receiver to slow the receiver down while he looks for the ball. It was not called, but he could have been called for a pass interference penalty. He once again did not need to do that to stay with the receiver.
Finding the Ball
The last weakness in Williams’ game is his ability to find the ball. He can sometimes be too late to look for the ball, allowing passes to get past him when he is right in position to make the play. He can be too focused on the receiver and lose track of where the pass is going. Here are some examples of this weakness.
The first play versus Georgia is a play where Williams is in man coverage. He is covering the receiver on a streak route and doing it extremely well. He is giving up very little space between himself and the receiver. However, the pass is a back shoulder throw and Williams does not look back in time to see this fact. He overruns the receiver, allowing the completion and the big play.
The last play against Auburn is a situation where Williams is in man coverage versus the receiver running a streak route down the left sideline. Williams is once again in perfect coverage, running stride for stride with the receiver. Yet, the throw is a back shoulder throw. Williams, though, never looks back at the ball and continues to run upfield, when the receiver stops to grab the pass. Williams tries to stop, but he has to grab the facemask of the receiver to do so. This draws a penalty, while the receiver also brings in the catch. Williams loses track of the ball, allowing the catch and being called for a penalty.