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Although the Jets re-signed Darryl Roberts and added Brian Poole in free agency, most Jets fans would like to see an upgrade to their cornerback group. General manager Mike Maccagnan admitted last month that Roberts is unproven, so perhaps he would feel more comfortable with one of the top draft prospects as his second starter.
The Jets' draft strategy could therefore entail trading down and targeting the top cornerback prospects. Many experts believe Greedy Williams from LSU could be the first cornerback to be selected. Is he a good fit to be the Jets' top pick?
Projected Pick: End of 1st round/Beginning of 2nd
College (career): 71 tackles, 20 passes defended, 8 interceptions
Combine: 4.37 in 40-yard dash
Williams is a tall cornerback (listed at 6-foot-2) with above average length (31.5-inch arms) and showcased his athleticism with an impressive showing in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. He's regarded by many as the top press coverage cornerback prospect in this year's draft.
At LSU, Williams posted dominant coverage numbers, as he allowed a catch on less than 40 percent of his targets and showed his playmaking ability with 21 pass break-ups and eight interceptions.
Scouts feel good about Williams' potential to step right in at the pro level and cover NFL-caliber wide receivers, especially after he did an outstanding job against top wide receiver prospect DK Metcalf, holding him to a season-low 37 yards. In direct coverage, Metcalf gained just 31 yards on seven targets against Williams.
Williams' straight-line speed gives him a second gear that enables him to recover and run with players on downfield routes. He didn't give up a single 40-yard play in his two years with the Tigers.
Although Williams might be able to grow into his frame, he's still a little lightweight at this time. Listed at 185 pounds, he only managed to post a disappointing eight bench press reps at his pro day, so he might need to bulk up to avoid getting "out-physicalled" by bigger receivers. However, Metcalf is big and strong, so his success in that match-up should give teams confidence in his ability to cope with the move up.
Although his numbers across his two years as a starter are solid, Williams' 2018 season wasn't quite as productive as his first year. He intercepted six passes in 2017, but only nabbed two in 2018. He also gave up more yards, a higher yards per catch average and two touchdowns in 2018, having only given up one in the previous year. In addition, he had more penalties -- six, as opposed to just two in 2017 -- developing a worrying grab habit at times.
While his strength is in press coverage, Williams doesn't fare as well in off coverage. That's reminiscent of Trumaine Johnson, who is regarded as a press specialist but rarely seemed to be employed in press coverage in 2018. Unless the Jets are going to be aggressive and press both their corners the majority of the time, they'll need both their starters to be able to hold up in off-coverage on occasion.
Another concern with Williams is that he hasn't played much in the slot. While he'd be brought in to compete for a role on the boundary and the Jets have Poole and Parry Nickerson to battle for the slot role, it's useful for young corners to be able to play inside. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get them on the field if they don't earn a starting role.
Finally, while Williams' credentials make him an attractive pick, there are some other cornerback prospects experts believe could step right in as starters, so perhaps the Jets could get more value from the pick by using it on someone else.
We can feel confident at least one major voice within the Jets' organization will advocate for this move. While Williams and Jamal Adams never played together, Williams was a redshirt freshman during the pro bowler's final season, and you can bet he'd happily welcome another former LSU Tiger into the fold.
From a needs perspective, this pick provides the Jets with a potential upgrade and will hopefully bring them a long-term solution. However, Williams does have a few limitations which could cause teams to wonder how he'll fare if he gets called into action as a rookie starter.
With his length, athleticism and press coverage abilities, Williams is exactly the type of player that the Jets seemed to target with regularity during the Todd Bowles era. Whether defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is as enamored by the same kind of player remains to be seen.