Jacquian Williams: 6th Round (Pick 202) , 2011
The general consensus on Williams is that he was a sixth or seventh round pick, so this is the first player that can’t be considered great value. He is another name to throw into the picture at linebacker, though, which I consider the greatest need.
--Rich Resch, April 2011
It seemed as if the majority of Giants fans, including the oaf I just quoted, didn’t know what to think of this pick. Many fans wanted to see Reese take Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich (although there were a small handful of commenters who, to their credit, loved the Williams pick). Reese made the pick that wasn’t sexy, but one that paid huge dividends, and he scooped up Herzlich as an undrafted free agent to boot. There’s a reason this guy is a two time Super Bowl champion GM, and the rest of us are not.
At the time of the pick, I couldn’t find many scouting reports on the young LB. What I did find said that he was a raw but athletic kid who would take time to develop into an NFL player. He was a “project,” and he shouldn’t be counted on to contribute to the defense for the first year or two of his career. You know, the same things people said about Jason Pierre-Paul.
Well JPP’s former USF teammate contributed much earlier than expected, not only on defense, but as a key figure on special teams. His speed and athleticism were as advertised, but his football intelligence was much better than expected for a relative newcomer to the game of football. Although fellow 6th round pick Greg Jones was heralded as the more polished player, Williams became one of the Giants’ four main linebackers and saw a good deal of playing time for most of the season. He ended up sixth on the Giants with 78 tackles and led the team with three fumbles recovered. Not bad for a guy who had to watch 25 linebackers get drafted before him.
Most importantly, he forced a Kyle Williams fumble in overtime of the NFC Championship game, which directly led to the championship-clinching field goal, and single-handedly justified the use of a compensatory 6th round pick. Anything else Williams does in his career will be icing on the cake. Don’t be surprised if Giants fans are eating a whole lot of delicious icing over the next few years.