Marcus Williams: Is he ready to claim a spot?
By Paul Newbold
Cornerback Marcus Williams definitely has the talents to contribute nicely next season, but is he truly ready to step up and claim a spot on the depth chart? The New York Jets’ defensive secondary is a very crowded position this year heading into camp. With the addition of three big name free agents, the entire depth chart at cornerback for the Jets has changed. What once was a position with very little to look forward to, has now likely become the strength of this football team.
Williams is headed into his second professional season and is among one of the many young cornerbacks on this Jet roster. Williams caught the eye of many Jet fans last season, and has reportedly shown well early this year during this year’s OTAs.
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Williams is a 5’11″/196 lbs. cornerback. He played his college ball at North Dakota State University where he set the school record with twenty one career interceptions. Williams went undrafted and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans.
The Jets signed him to their practice squad on September 26th, 2014. Williams was promoted to the active roster on Oct. 28 of last year.
He debuted for the Jets on Nov. 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that game he led the team with 7 tackles and a pass defense. His performance surprised many Jet fans, brought praise from Rex Ryan, and set Williams up as a starter for the second half of the 2014 season.
Williams campaign last season wasn’t without struggles, he was tested heavily as the “new kid” on the block. Williams allowed a few big plays last season that drew the ire of some Jet fans, but overall Williams held his own. Playing only eight games, Williams ended the season with 36 tackles, 29 solo, and 7 assists. He also added 7 pass defenses and a single interception.
The game most Jet fans will remember Williams for from last season might very well be in Week 16 against the New England Patriots. That day, Williams turned in another great defensive effort, putting up 7 solo tackles, 5 solo, 3 pass defenses, and an interception. No good game against the Pats goes unnoticed by Jet fans, and Williams made some fans remember him that game.
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (22) lines up in the backfield during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
This upcoming season, Williams is learning a new defensive scheme and will be working under an entirely new coaching staff. He will need to get noticed all over again. No longer a starter, Williams will need to prove his worth to stay on this football team. Competition will be intense across the board at cornerback this summer as Williams will need to bring his “A” game to claim a spot.
The good news for Williams is that head coach Todd Bowles is known to play multiple cornerback sets. That might mean that Bowles might consider carrying an extra corner on the roster as insurance. Williams has eight professional games under his belt and that experience might prove to be Williams biggest advantage over some of the other young players. The Jets’ coaching staff has game film to evaluate Williams with and that may get him noticed early.
Some early reports out of OTAs have Williams handling the new defensive playbook well. Of course it’s very early, but its always a good thing for a player if he can prove he’s on top of things from the get go. Williams has a shot at making the 53 man roster in my opinion. It surely isn’t guaranteed, but if he does, Williams will have an opportunity to learn from some savvy veterans. It’s a golden opportunity for all these young corners as I expect Williams will fight for his chance this year.
What is your take on Williams? Does he have the stuff to make the final roster? Let us know in the comments section below. Let’s Talk Jet Football!
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