California cornerback Steve Williams decided against returning for his senior season and declared for the 2013 NFL draft.
If your team is looking to bolster its secondary, California's dynamic underclassman is likely linked to its list of targets.
In a pass-oriented league, the appetite for cornerback talent is seemingly never satisfied.
Leading up to the draft, the 5'9" Williams has been partially overshadowed by his senior teammate, cornerback Marc Anthony.
But Williams' production hints that the junior may prove to be a late-round steal, and members of the scouting community are beginning to take notice.
Full Name: Steven Dwain Williams
Birthday: March 7, 1991
Hometown: Dallas, TX
High School: Skyline High School
Williams elected to forgo his senior year and jump to the big leagues alongside teammate Marc Anthony—the other half of California's respected cornerback tandem.
Had Williams remained at California for his senior season, he likely would have been projected as a second-day selection. As is, the junior should be plucked from the board on Day 3.
Information provided by CalBears.com.
Over the span of his collegiate career, Williams participated in all 37 possible contests and started in the final 28 games.
The cornerback's breakout 2012 season caused more than a modest blip on scouting radars.
His overall production skyrocketed throughout his junior season. Despite playing in one fewer game, Williams tallied one more interception and 36 additional tackles in comparison to his 2011 campaign. The speedster also posted one tackle for loss in each of his first two seasons. In 2012, Williams accounted for seven.
Statistics provided by CalBears.com.
Weight: 181 lbs
Arm Length: 30.5"
Hand Size: 8.1"
40-Yard Dash: 4.42 seconds
Bench Press: 12 reps
Broad Jump: 128"
Vertical Jump: 40.5"
3-Cone Drill: 6.89 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.1 seconds
Williams only participated in positional drills at California's pro day.
Results provided by NFL.com.
A handful of general managers will overlook Williams due to his 5'9" frame. Judging by his body of work, however, No. 1 effectively compensated for any shortcomings.
Despite only playing three seasons, his 31 pass breakups rank sixth all-time at California.
And while teammate Marc Anthony garners more headlines, Williams was voted as the team's defensive MVP in 2012 (via CalBears.com).
At one point during the NFL Scouting Combine, the prospect dropped jaws after recording an unofficial 40-yard-dash time of 4.25 seconds—one-tenth of a second shy of Chris Johnson's combine record. However, Williams' official time was eventually listed at 4.42 seconds (via Pro Football Talk).
While no two scouts are alike, a substantial number of them appear to view Williams as a potential late-round steal.
The defender headlines the cornerback portion of Rob Rang's annual "Diamonds in the Rough" analysis. Rang added, "While Williams lacks the size scouts prefer, the light-footed, loose-hipped cornerback certainly possesses the athleticism for coverage as well as the toughness necessary to handle run support."
After breaking down Williams' game tape, Bleacher Report's Matt Stein offered:
Despite spending the majority of his time playing outside in man coverage, Williams projects best as a nickel cornerback in the NFL. At this position, his lack of size won't be a problem at all while his elite athleticism will allow him to matchup with even the fastest slot receivers.
While Steve Williams doesn't boast the softest hands or the ideal height, the cornerback's distinct skill set alone warrants a fifth- or sixth-round selection.
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