Some leftover notes on Joejuan Williams, the Vanderbilt cornerback whom the New England Patriots traded up to select with the 45th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Friday:
— Williams, who was linked to the Patriots in several pre-draft reports, said he’s the “complete package” as a cornerback. He intercepted four passes and broke up 14 more against tough competition in the SEC last season.
“I can run, cover and hit,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, if you look at all of my numbers in the SEC, I was ranked first in everything, whether it was passes defended, pass breakups, interceptions as a corner, solo tackles as a corner. So I feel like that complete package is what I bring to the team.”
Williams, who attended the draft in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn., faced several standout receivers last season, including fellow 2019 draft prospects A.J. Brown, Miles Boykin and Riley Ridley.
“With those big guys, you’ve got to get hands on them,” he said. “You’ve got to keep their route and you’ve got to disrupt their route. So getting your hands on them early, disrupting their release, disrupting their route and making sure you fight for the ball, and that’s the biggest thing. They will go up and get the ball, so you’ve got to go up there and fight for it. That’s something I feel like I bring to the table.”
— At 6-foot-2, 211 pounds, Williams is massive for a cornerback, prompting speculation he could transition to safety. He said Patriots coach Bill Belichick told him the Patriots view him as a corner, but director of player personnel Nick Caserio later in the night said it’s too early to predict how the rangy, physical cover man will fit into New England’s secondary.
“(Belichick) said he saw me as a corner,” Williams said. “But at the end of the day, I’ll play wherever he sees me to fit and I trust in the system. I trust in him and I trust in the system and I just want to contribute to the team.”
— In New England, Williams will be reunited with former Vanderbilt teammate Adam Butler, who’s carved out a role as a Patriots sub rusher since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2017.
“That’s my dog, man,” Williams said of Butler. “He was a senior when I was a freshman, but he took me under his wing. He actually just sent me a message, a congratulations message. We were talking before the draft. It was crazy because we talked the day before the draft and he was just hyping me up, telling me he’s excited for me. Man, I’m excited to play with him again.”
Butler congratulated Williams on social media shortly after his pick was announced.
— Williams said he watches film “like I watch ‘Game of Thrones’ ” and that he can’t wait to pick Patriots star Stephon Gilmore’s brain. Read more on that here.
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images