Head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots traded up for Joejuan Williams in the NFL Draft. The team has plenty of depth in the unit and adding Williams seemed like an unreasonable move. But, Belichick sure knows what he is doing. It turns out that the big Joejuan Williams can actually use one of his traits to cause issues.
The cornerback couldn’t really see some action on the field last season. New England has Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jason McCourty, and Jonathan Jones on the position. Williams played just 80 defensive snaps in his rookie campaign. In his second season, Williams took a different role. He covered tight ends and played in the box as a safety. His numbers didn’t change a lot because Williams played just 108 defensive snaps.
Gilmore won’t play in Weeks 16 and 17. This opens the door for Gilmore. He and undrafted rookie Myles Bryant will share the field with other cornerbacks.
Putting Williams on the field in Monday’s game against the Buffalo Bills seems like a good idea. He may be the best solution to Bills rookie wide receiver Gabriel Davis. The 212-pounder can definitely match Davis’ size.
“Joejuan’s a big, physical guy playing out there,” Patriots cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino said Saturday on a video conference call. “A lot of length gives guys a decent amount of trouble going against him if he can use his body in the appropriate manner. Really, receivers would have to think about what they would want to do every time they get to the line if he was in a press position.”
According to Pellegrino, Williams has some other attributes coaches like. Patriots safeties coach Brian Belichick provided a more thorough explanation on this.
“It’s always good to have guys down there in run force who will play physical and tackle and use the leverage as a defender against the runner,” he said. “The more he can keep learning that and gain experience, the better he’ll get. That’s always something we want in the defense, good tacklers in the DBs room.”
New England may give Williams a bigger role if Jackson, Gilmore, or McCourty don’t return in 2021. The final two games on the Patriots schedule are definitely big for the cornerback.