2019 #45 New England Patriots - JoeJuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
NFL Draft Scout
OUTLOOK: It isn't often that four-star recruits choose Vanderbilt over the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Southern California but Williams has been bucking trends since high school. A highly touted prep dating back to his sophomore year at Father Ryan High School, Williams had his hardship appeal surprisingly denied by the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Commission, which left him ineligible to play football his senior season after he and his mother moved. That would wreak havoc on most players' recruiting but not for the gifted Williams, who lived up to his hype by playing in all 12 games as a true freshman for Derek Mason's Commodores and developed into one of the conference's best (if somewhat anonymous) defensive backs over the past two seasons. Williams led the SEC with 15 passes defensed and 11 pass breakups in a breakout 2018 campaign, finishing second in the league with four interceptions. Far from just a coverage specialist, Williams showed instincts and physicality in run support, as well, which could have some NFL teams viewing him as a potential safety. Williams may lack for name recognition among college football fans but he will not among scouts. Athletic enough to remain at cornerback but possessing enough size to handle safety duties, Williams may only need to prove his straight-line speed to warrant top 75 consideration.