After releasing Safety Jairus Byrd earlier in the offseason, the New Orleans Saints got his replacement in the 2017 NFL Draft in Utah’s Marcus Williams.
Shane Roberts of SB Nation’s page for Utah’s, Block U, took some quick time to answer a few questions for Saints to get to know their future ball-hawking Safety.
Were you surprised to see Marcus Williams picked #42 overall? Did you think that was more of a reach or a steal by the Saints? Or was it more what you predicted?
I think 42 was about right. There was some chatter he could sneak into the 1st Round, so early in the 2nd Round was no surprise. I don’t think it was a reach at all, it was more of a steal if anything. Marcus is very smart, and has a nose for the ball. He’s as good of a center fielder as you could ask for.
After releasing Jairus Byrd, the Saints could use a "center fielder" free safety, but they could also use a physical player to clean up tackles. Williams is known to be a ball-hawk, but how is he wrapping up opposing players for the tackle?
Marcus could use some work on tackling, no doubt. He did whiff at times in college, but he’s a hard hitter, so when he gets a hit, it’s a highlight reel type of hit. Wrapping up and securing a tackle would be something he could clean up, though.
Do you think Williams could be a Week 1 first year starter in the NFL, or do you view him as more of a player that will need time to develop?
I think he could be a Week 1 starter in the NFL, since Utah runs an NFL-style defense, and has put a ton of Corners and Safety into the league, including Eric Weddle. He has the smarts for it, no doubt, but he’ll take some lumps, like any rookie.
Williams has a small frame and is "only" 6'1. Does his heigh present a problem for him on high, contested throws, or can he player "bigger" than he really is?
He plays big, and is really good at anticipating routes and throws, which would negate height. I wouldn’t worry about size very much, especially with his speed, instincts and smarts.
Overall, what can Saints fans expect from Williams in his career with New Orleans?
A guy that will be steady, reliable, and come up with timely turnovers. Whenever the Utes needed a momentum switching turnover, he’d come up with one, whether it was a pick or a fumble. I’m excitedto see him down there.
Thank-you so much for your time and insight, Shane!
Saints fans, make sure you check out Colton and the rest of the hard-working guys’ work over at Block U. You can also follow their work on Twitter @BlockU, and as always, you always follow me on Twitter @dunnellz.
What do you think about the Saints big name Safety from the 2017 NFL Draft? Does this make you feel more comfortable with the Saints releasing Jairus Byrd? Where do you think this pushes Vonn Bell - maybe to another Strong Safety? Tell us in the comments.