It’s easy to get excited about the New England Patriots’ first handful of picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Patriots addressed major needs with players who are poised to make real impacts in their rookie seasons. Included in this group is Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams, who New England traded up to draft with the 45th overall pick. Williams has the size and skill set to be a productive player for any team, but ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen believes the 21-year-old finds himself in an ideal situation in Foxboro.
“Take your pick with the Patriots’ top four selections in the draft — Williams, wide receiver N’Keal Harry, edge defender Chase Winovich and running back Damien Harris,” Bowen writes. “They all fit the New England system.
“I’m going to focus on Williams because he has the coverage traits that Bill Belichick wants in his defensive backs. The Pats are a heavy man-coverage defense. Put a safety over the top and challenge routes. That’s a fit for Williams, a cornerback with a monster 6-foot-4 frame who can match up to big-bodied NFL receivers, impact the release and then play the ball at the point of attack.”
Williams is still fairly raw, so he’ll likely require a bit of coaching before he sees consistent playing time with the Patriots. But given his limitless potential, his ascension within New England’s defensive system might come sooner rather than later.