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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

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Jonathan Bales

In case you missed it my 2010 Cornerback Grades are in:

1.  Orlando Scandrick:  B- (83.4)
2.  Terence Newman:  C+ (77.0)
3.  Mike Jenkins: D (64.6)

To say the Cowboys need help in the secondary would be an understatement.  While I do think all three cornerbacks above will improve in 2011 (particularly Jenkins), the future of the position is uncertain.

Newman will turn 33 during the upcoming season and really struggled in 2010.  He seems to have trouble locating the football while still maintaining position to make a play on it.

Jenkins appeared to lose confidence this year.  I do think he’ll regain his swagger in 2011, but he has a long way to go.

Orlando Scandrick actually played quite well over the final 10 games or so, but I think his skill set is best suited for the slot.  If he moved outside, his lack of strength and size could hurt him.

Today’s feature is a player many of you asked me to analyze, and one whose ability could potentially be a nice fit in Dallas.

Scouting Report

At 6’1”, Williams has great length for the cornerback position.  He turns and runs pretty well (although not at an elite level), displaying above average hips.  At just 189 pounds, he has some room for growth.  His long arms allow him to play press coverage, but he could improve after adding some bulk.

Williams’ make-up speed is very good.  This allows him to be aggressive right off the snap, as he’s able to quickly get back in position if he slips up in his press.  Williams really excels when playing up in a receiver’s face and shadowing him around the field.  He struggles a bit in off-coverage, taking a bit too long to come out of his backpedal and break on the football (at times).  His skill set is actually perfect for a Rob Ryan defense that figures to blitz plenty (and thus leave the secondary in man coverage).

In the run game, Williams doesn’t fight off of blocks well.  He’s not immune to contact, but he doesn’t possess the same ultra-aggressive mentality of Miami’s Brandon Harris (who is just six pounds heavier than Williams).  Williams’ poor tackling form could be detrimental for a team that already struggles to tackle in the secondary.

NFL teams won’t have to worry about Williams’ character.  His teammates say he’s a stand-up guy with good leadership qualities.  He loves football, which isn’t necessarily a certainty among all draftees nowadays.

Projection

Williams is a bit of a polarizing player among NFL scouts.  Some love his speed, man coverage ability, and upside.  I’ve seen him ranked ahead of LSU’s Patrick Peterson as the top cornerback available.  That seems outlandish to me, as the difference in ability is overwhelming.

Other scouts reportedly see nothing special from Williams.  He’s somewhat frail, hasn’t produced much in college (only four career picks), and doesn’t support the run well.

I’m in the middle, viewing Williams as a solid cornerback whose speed does give him nice upside, but whose current ability doesn’t put him anywhere near the top-flight players at his position.  His talent justifies an early-to-mid second-round pick, which is the area where I think you’ll see him go.  Thus, he’s an option for Dallas at their current second-round draft spot, and there are certainly worse possibilities than a speedy player at a position of need.

Other Potential Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Cal DT/DE Cameron Jordan

UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn

Ohio State DT/DE Cameron Heyward

Colorado OT Nate Solder

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

USC OT Tyron Smith

Miami CB Brandon Harris

LSU CB Patrick Peterson

UCLA FS Rahim Moore

Baylor NT Phil Taylor

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26 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

  1. john coleman says:

    I think this guy will be a good Nfl player, but not great. That is unless we get him. His length is attractive. Seriously, at this point Brandon Harris is my favorite in the 1st. Peterson not included.

    I have to admit that this year rd1 is going to be tough. IMO it’s between DE,DT, CB, and ILB.

    At #9 I’m thinking DE or DT. If we move down add CB. If we get down to picking at say 25th then maybe ILB(Martez Wilson, if he checks out). I don’t know why, but I just can’t feel good about Amukamara.

    Aaron Williams is a 2nd rd talent. To me a 1st rd talent should have very few to no issues.

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    The more and more of these potential draft pic reviews, the more convinced I am that this draft class will probably be one of the weakest in the most recent years.

    IMO, any CB is worthy of 1st round consideration (and money) if after 2-3 years in the same system, they can be expected to cover the top receivers in the league adequately. By adequate, I mean that sometimes the receiver obtains separation and sometimes the CB covers them to a point that they aren’t thrown toward (in other words, they do their job about 50% of the time). Around the 4-7 or 8 year mark, that same CB should be able to cover the opposing receiver with the same regularity but should possess a much wider skill set such as being more adept at bating QBs into making throws (making the receiver “appear” like they’re open) than be able to make plays on the ball. They should be better than average at deciphering run plays and be adequate run tacklers. They should be able to read offenses and anticipate where the ball is going to be based on film study and memory. And, most importantly, they should be able to understand their own limitations and inadequacies and know how to best “hide” them as well as put themselves in situations where they can utilize their strengths the most. Terence Newman is a good example of this type of CB. He’s never been a real shutdown corner regardless of the receiver (although he’s been somewhat close), he’s adequate but not stellar at run tackling and he KNOWS full well what he’s not good at. This year, Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara look like they have 1st round talent.

    Second round talent are those CBs who either need a little more development time to get to the point described above (and it seems likely that this point will be reached) or already possess solid to elite talent/skill but have character or injury issues that cause teams to be wary of the large investment. I really haven’t seen any prospects that fit this description yet.

    Third to fifth round talent is somewhere between the point where the CB could possess 1st round talent but nothing to this point has ever displayed that they do. These are the draft rounds for Williams and just all the other CBs (including Brandon Harris). Williams has good speed but it doesn’t appear that he really COVERS that well – in fact, it looked like he gave up on a play in the Texas A&M game after he was beat (pass was incomplete however). He’s got good length but has only 4 INTs in his career – the one he got in the Nebraska game was severely underthrown and the receiver actually help him out by pulling him toward the ball. He can play press coverage well but that’s not necessarily what he’ll be required to do on every play. He’s got fluid hips, for the most part, but is slow coming out of breaks.

    He may end up being great, but odds are he’ll be about as good as Orlando Scandrick, maybe a little better (Scandrick was drafted in the 4th round).

    And that’s exactly why JB does these analyses – so that regular guys like us can look and see for ourselves. This is tremendous research JB, thanks again.

  3. moses says:

    Great Analysis.

    After you are done with the individual assessments, it would be great if you address the depth of the draft for the various positions.

  4. JC–Harris is my 2nd favorite of the CBs as well. I imagine I’m one of only a few to have him ahead of Amukamara, but I did see National Football Post doesn’t have Amukamara in their top 30 prospects, and I believe Harris was No. 10 overall.

    Tyrone–Awesome breakdown. I think Brandon Harris is a first-round talent as well, and I think Amukamara is only on the fringe. I’m really excited to take a look at Jimmy Smith from Colorado. I’ve heard some good things and saw him play a couple times (and not get thrown at…at all).

    Moses–You bet…that will come in a few weeks once I have a good base of scouting reports completed. I will put out position rankings and my Big Board…top 100 or so. I hope to have at least 50 scouting reports completed by draft day, and hopefully more.

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