Duke Williams to Bills: How Does S Fit with Buffalo?

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Duke Williams to Bills: How Does S Fit with Buffalo?
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After mainly focusing on the offensive side of the ball in the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills selected their second defensive player in safety Duke Williams of Nevada. 

This former Wolfpack star is a gritty strong safety who made a name for himself with an abundance of highlight-reel hits in college, but he does have some free safety-esque range in coverage. 

With Jairus Byrd, Da'Norris Searcy and Aaron Williams the only safeties in Buffalo with legitimate professional experience—Mana Silva played sparingly in the 2012 season finale—Williams has a real chance to find himself on the field in 2013 and beyond. 

Who Duke Williams Compares to in the NFL

Although Byrd has evolved into a fine run defender in his own right, the 6'0'', 190-pound Williams is instantly the most aggressive and intimidating hitting safety on the roster. 

When he locks onto the football, his burst is noticeable, and he typical makes the ball-carrier pay. 

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Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will likely utilize him in more obvious running situations and when he wants to dial up delayed safety blitzes. 

Williams ran a 4.52 in the 40 at the combine in February, but he has a sprinting and high-jump background (he helped his high school win a state title in track), so his athleticism is likely what caught the Bills' eye.

With Buffalo employing multiple sets, alignments and looks in Pettine's hybrid defense, Williams could be sent in to keep Byrd fresh. Probably more often, though, he'll substitute for Da'Norris Searcy to give Byrd freedom to roam in center field. 

Don't be surprised if Williams is a special teams contributor as well, especially due to his style as a punishing tackler—pencil him in on kick and punt coverage. 

Like Kiko Alonso, Duke Williams is a player whose reputation blends ideally with Mike Pettine's blitz-happy, in-your-face defense. 

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