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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: James Williams (DB – Miami)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: James Williams (DB – Miami)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Miami defensive back James Williams.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: James Williams

James Williams (DB – Miami)

6’5” – 215 lbs.

Background:

James Williams is a Florida native and a five-star recruit who was the top player at his position. Started the last seven of the 10 games he appeared in back in 2021, finishing with 31 tackles, two interceptions and two breakups. Started all 11 games he played in the following year, finishing with 58 tackles, an interception and six breakups. He then added another 73 tackles, one interception and five breakups this year.

Positives:

Huge safety who has nearly three years of starting experience and escalating production. Snaps were pretty evenly split between playing as a high safety and working down in the box; will occasionally shade over the slot as well. Active pre-snap communicator. Patient when reading his keys from the box and does a good job of keeping his shoulders square when defending the run. Gets good extension and is active with his hands to sift through traffic. Length gives him an impressive tackling radius. Uses a pretty consistent wrap technique. Breaks down well in the open field. Flashes the ability to help set the tone with physical hits. Does a good job of keeping things in front of him when working from high zones. Processes route combinations well from zone. Decisively drives on in-breaking routes and can function as an enforcer. Uses his length and hands to disrupt timing when working from off-coverage. On-ball production is solid. Length keeps him in-phase on some plays smaller safeties may not be able to impact.

Negatives:

A bit thin in the lower body and functional strength is just average. A flexible athlete but not an especially fast one. Hasn’t been quite as reliable a tackler as anticipated given his massive frame. Doesn’t have consistent stopping power and gives up a fair amount of yards after contact. Played a little bit of single-high during the games reviewed, but in terms of range, will probably be better suited to less demanding responsibilities. Can get a bit flat-footed from off coverage and doesn’t have elite recovery speed to get back in-phase. His frame is well-suited to man coverage on tight ends but we didn’t get a chance to see him doing it during the games reviewed. Has been somewhat penalty-prone, averaging over six flags per year (including those which were declined/offset.)

Summary:

A massive safety who plays with a physical temperament and who looked just as comfortable playing in high zones, if not more, than coming down into the box to mix it up in the run game. Ability to play with decisiveness when processing route combinations from zone and then come up and deliver hits to jar the ball loose or help set the ton defensively is impressive. May function best in a robber role but he has some schematic/positional versatility, although his lack of ideal speed may prevent him from being an ideal single-high safety.

Projection: Round 4/Round 5

More 2024 NFL Draft Prospects: Defensive Backs

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