The New Orleans Saints are aiming to make one more run at a Super Bowl. But as an already supremely talented roster has learned over the past two years, depth often determines who plays in February. And luck of course.
In a move that screams to the “you can never have too many cornerbacks” mantra, the Saints added to their secondary with a very familiar face agreeing to terms with P.J. Willams on a one-year deal Tuesday worth $5 million.
Contrary to FS1’s Colin Cowherd’s belief, the New Orleans Saints do not have “really weak corners”. While their defensive backs weren’t perfect last season and had various cringe worthy lapses, the group improved immensely throughout the season.
Colin Cowherd literally said the Saints have the weakest cornerbacks in the NFC South. He’s got a national audience yet doesn’t pay attention to one whole division. Be better... pic.twitter.com/WsgY7a9vTA— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) March 28, 2019
And with talented slot cornerback Patrick Robinson returning after a season ending injury in 2018, it should only be better. Robinson’s replacement last season was the now five m-year pro in Williams. While he had been plagued by injury and inconsistency throughout his time in New Orleans, his struggles weren’t a secret.
But there were several games when the potential that made Williams a third-round pick in 2015 flashed. And sometimes the light shined extremely bright.
PJ Williams picks off Cam Newton pic.twitter.com/KRsKwRIanb— TheSaintsWire (@TheSaintsWire) September 24, 2017
2018 however, gave him another chance to put it all on display. With another struggling defensive beginning to the season, Robinson on IR, and the Saints eventually welcoming Eli Apple aboard after a rough campaign from Ken Crawley —the pressure remained thick on Williams.
And he responded in a manner in which a former Florida State cornerback should. With swagger and success.
P.J. was one of just 2 qualifying CBs a season ago to achieve a run defense grade over 80 (83.4) and a tackling grade over 85 (89.9).— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) April 3, 2019
That 89.9 tackling grade ranked 1st among all qualifying corners.
Welcome back, @PjWilliams_26 #WhoDat ⚜ #Saints https://t.co/we4vIZIaRj
Now with a healthy returning Robinson, Williams will join an even more crowded secondary in 2019. With Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple expected to hold down the number one and two positions on the depth chart, Williams will be more than likely fighting it out for nickel and dime package snaps.
But nothing is ever guaranteed in a New Orleans Saints secondary, so his opportunity to contribute could easily arrive in another manner unexpected. If history is to repeat itself however, he’d have it no other way.