It was no surprise to see eight former Bulldogs get selected in the NFL draft last week.
All eight players did a lot of good things when they were playing between the hedges, and all eight are expected to do the same on Sundays.
Many experts believe the Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree will be elite linebackers in the NFL, which is why both were chosen in the first round. But the one player who walked into the best situation is Shawn Williams, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round.
In my power rankings of the eight Bulldogs draftees, I had Williams at No. 3 behind Ogletree and Jones. However, I also believe that he could have the most success.
Once Williams arrives at Bengals camp, it will basically be Athens all over again for him because there are already six former Bulldogs on the roster.
A.J. Green, Clint Boling, Robert Geathers, Dennis Roland, Orson Charles and Geno Atkins have all been key contributors in the Bengals' success, and with Williams’ leadership and intensity, he should have no problems doing the same thing.
But even if Williams did not have his fellow Bulldogs with him in Cincinnati, he has a strong group that will teach him how to be a professional.
Veteran players like Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Rey Maualuga and newly signed James Harrison have done a lot of good things on the field, and Williams will make sure he absorbs everything they tell him in order to be an elite player.
However, in order for Williams to be an elite safety, he will have to win the starting job during training camp. He will be in a competition for the strong safety spot along with Taylor Mays, Jeromy Miles and Tony Dye.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told Bengals.com that he was not ready to put anyone in the mix yet, but he really like Williams, and the entire coaching staff feel good about him.
Bengals secondary coach Mark Carrier told Bengals.com that he loves how Williams played in an NFL-style defense at UGA. Carrier also likes how Williams calls out signals and was not afraid to hit somebody.
Williams never got the attention or the recognition that Bacarri Rambo did but should thrive with the Bengals coaching staff.
Atkins is a perfect example of what Williams could become. Atkins was named team defensive MVP his senior year at UGA but never was considered a great college defensive tackle. Now under Lewis and the rest of the Bengals coaching staff, Atkins has been to the Pro Bowl twice and is considered one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL.
Boling is another example. While he did have a great career at Georgia, as he was an All-American, he saw limited action in his rookie year. But in 2012, Boling started every game at left guard and helped BenJarvus Green-Ellis lead the NFL in 3rd-and-1 rushing conversions (14).
As mentioned earlier, Williams will have to fight in order to be one of the best safeties in the NFL. But if he puts in the work and becomes the leader that he was in Athens, Williams will be one of many former Bulldogs to have major success at the highest level of competition.
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