Shawn Williams is an interesting prospect. He didn't get as much play at Georgia as former teammate Bacarri Rambo, but seems to be just as solid of a prospect heading into the draft.
With 30 collegiate starts under his belt, Williams should be able to come in and make an immediate impact as a strong safety at the next level.
The issue here, as is the case with every strong safety prospect, is that the class is deep and rich with talent. This seems to indicate that teams will be looking for need as the draft gets going. This also seems to indicate that Williams will get selected a little later than his value would indicate.
Lets take a look at five things you simply need to know about the Georgia product as he prepares to enter the National Football League.
Full Name: Shawn Williams
Birth date: May 13, 1991
Hometown: Damascus, Ga.
High School: Early County High School in Blakely, Ga.
Shawn Williams was a 3-star recruit and ranked 34th nationally among safeties by Scout.com back in 2009 coming from Early County High in Georgia.
In an interesting turn, Williams didn't receive any scholarship offers from SEC rivals Auburn and Florida. A lot of that could have to do with the fact that he had long ago decided to remain at home in Athens, Ga. Still, you'd expect a recruit like Williams to at least draw some interest (via Rivals.com).
2009 (Freshman): 13 games, five tackles and three solo
2010 (Sophomore): 13 games, 34 tackles, 25 solo and one pass broken up
2011 (Junior): 14 games, 72 tackles, 48 solo, five for loss, five passes broken up, four interceptions and one forced fumble
2012 (Senior): 14 games, 98 tackles, 56 solo, 5.5 for loss, four passes broken up and one forced fumble
Williams backed up both Reshad Jones and Bacarri Rambo at strong safety and saw some action at free safety as a freshman in 2009. He played mostly on special teams in his first season at Athens.
The talented young safety started his sophomore campaign behind a combination of more experienced players, including Rambo and Nick Williams. He did, however, contribute 34 tackles and a pass broken up in three starts.
That being said, Williams really started to make his impact known as an upperclassman in 2011. He started 13 of the 14 games he appeared in and led Georgia in tackles, ahead of more well-known defenders like Jarvis Jones and Brandon Boykin. His breakout performance came against then-No. 9 South Carolina when he put up six tackles and three passes defended.
Needless to say, Williams began his senior campaign as one of the leaders of a veteran Georgia defense. He finished first among SEC defensive backs with 98 tackles.
All statistics provided by CFB Stats
Weight: 213 pounds
Arm Length: 30 3/4"
Hand Size: 8 3/8"
Broad Jump: 120.0"
40-Yard Dash: 4.46
Three-Cone Drill: 7.01
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.25
Vertical Jump: 36.0"
Bench Press: 25 reps at 225
Williams' 4.46 40-yard dash at the combine placed him behind only Shamarko Thomas and Earl Wolff among safeties.
That being said, he finished in the bottom half among safeties in the vertical jump, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle.
Where Williams really made his name known in Indianapolis was in the weight room. He finished third among all defensive backs with 25 reps at 225 pounds. This goes to show you exactly how strong of an enforcer he can be as a strong safety in the NFL.
Russ Lande spoke pretty highly of Williams following his pro day performance in Athens.
While Williams was not viewed as the same caliber athlete on film as Rambo, today he was quicker and decidedly better in all the drills. He did surprisingly well in the pedal, turn and run drills and made it look easy changing directions and flipping hips during the positional drills. Combining his strong workout today with his good college career and outstanding character and intangibles, a source at the workout told us that they think Williams could end up being a ten year starter in the NFL.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those of us who have actually watched tape on Williams. He fits the role of a strong safety in the NFL to a T and should find himself starting in the relatively near future.
No generic drill, no matter how much press it gets, will change this.
All combine measurements and numbers provided by NFL.com
This really isn't an interesting fact for those of you who follow SEC football, but Shawn Williams made a bunch of news this past season by calling out his own defense to the media (via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
We’re playing too soft as a defense....That goes for the D-line, linebackers, corners, safeties, everybody. We’re just not playing with the same attitude we were last year. I don’t know what it is.
Considering that the 2013 NFL draft class included about eight defensive players who project to go in the first five rounds, Williams was right to speak out. After all, this talented unit finished a disappointing sixth in the SEC in scoring defense and sixth in total defense.
After the first series [against Kentucky], I told everybody we played too soft...They got the ball at the 20 and went 80 yards right up the middle. I came to the sideline and said "y’all are playing soft." It gets frustrating because I’m sitting here and I’m giving all I got and I feel like I’ve got some guys that are not. I feel we’ve got some guys that are in a whole different place.
Honestly, good for Williams. I am pretty sure NFL teams wouldn't mind having that type of passion on the football field on Sundays.
When comparing Williams to teammate Baccari Rambo, B/R's very own Matt Miller had the following to say:
I like Shawn Williams more than teammate Baccari Rambo, though.
If you were privy to the Twitter conversation between Miller and fellow NFL analyst Matt Bowen, you would have known that this doesn't mean the former likes Williams a great deal.
Love his (Williams) size and strength. He's just tough in the box. Purely a SS. Don't see him being a turnover guy.
That's pretty much how I view Williams, too. He reminds me a great deal of Bernard Pollard, formerly of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The Georgia product will make plays in the box with his brute strength, but he cannot be asked to cover over the top too much. He lacks the fundamentals we see from some of the better cover strong safeties in the National Football League.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET, and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.
Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL.