NAME: Joejuan Williams
JERSEY: No. 8
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 208 lbs
Vertical Coverage – 40 time will be an extremely important result for him. Definitely not a burner, but seemed to be able to keep stride with most receivers he faced vertically. Struggles to get his head around to find the ball in the air, but plays the pocket well and makes throwing windows over the top small with his length. Surprisingly adept at getting vertical yet still breaking back to the ball to contest comebacks and curl routes.
Fluidity/Quickness – For a long-legged, 6-foot-2 corner, Williams isn’t as stiff as you’d expect. Granted, I wouldn’t call his hips oily, but he can flip and recover against some receivers after a bad jam at the line of scrimmage, although true speedsters will challenge him. Gives up too much separation on in-breaking routes. The best way to describe Williams change-of-direction and overall fluidity is average, but there will be some matchups where that is completely fine for him, and others that challenge him a lot more.
Ball Skills – Tantalizing flashes of ball skills, but leaves you wanting more. Has to do a better job of getting his head around to defend vertical passes, but late in the season has shown some improvement there. Overall, plays face up on receiver and uses size to limit windows, but makes very few true plays on the ball vertically. Does well to stay in the hip pocket of receivers on routes breaking back to the ball, and his length and size help him work through pass catchers to defend the catch point.
Click-and-Close – Slow transitions from pedal to breaking on the ball limit off-man capabilities. Often a tad late to arrive at catch point from off or zone coverage, but does do well to pry at the pocket with his length. Bottom line: he’s going to win from press, or he’s not going to win at all as a man coverage corner.
Press Ability – When he stays patient, reads releases and opens with receivers, the results are gorgeous. His length, strength and physicality are rare for the position, and on his best reps it really shows. Unfortunately, inconsistency mars his game, and his technique is often sloppy at the line of scrimmage. Will open too early at times, forcing himself into recovery mode instead of staying square. Shoots the wrong hand at times and can get crossed up against quick releases. Can get rocked back on his heels in press, making transition to getting vertical much slower.
Route Recognition – Several times Georgia tried to get him to bite on a bubble and run a vertical behind him when he was playing press Cover 3 and he didn’t take the cheese. Shows great recognition to avoid deceptive concepts and is generally assignment-sound. Against Ole Miss, made a great play in Cover 2 to recognize there was no flat threat and sink on the vertical route for an important pass breakup.
Tackling – Generally a good tackler who doesn’t hesitate to engage runners 1v1. Not a big hitter and will wrestle defenders to the ground rather than make impact hits. Needs to lower his target area to stop runners progress more quickly. Will go for the strip at times over making the sure tackle, but generally understands situations where that makes sense and doesn’t overuse it. Length and strength aid him in making stops outside his frame.
Run Support – Active in run support. Will come downhill and physically engage blockers and ball carriers. Not afraid to stick his nose in the box to help on a tackle. Quick to fill against the run in zone coverage. Would like to see him get off receiver blocks better given his size and length.
Competitive Toughness – No issues here, physically engaged at all times and won’t hesitate to match another receiver’s physicality. Welcomed the challenge of shadowing A.J. Brown and DaMarkus Lodge interchangeably throughout the game, both physical receivers. Chirped consistently with Riley Ridley, and seems to have the requisite mental resilience to bounce back after negative plays.
Athleticism/Size – Size is absolutely rare for a corner, physical makeup is ideal in every way. Not weak athletically, but may be average per NFL standards for a cornerback. Testing will be critical for his evaluation. Running in the low 4.5s is a win.
Best Trait: Size/Length
Worst Trait: Fluidity/Hips
Red Flags: None
Joejuan Williams is a developmental, mid-round cornerback prospect with tantalizing physical traits and questionable athletic ones. He was at his best in a high-profile matchup against Ole Miss this season, breaking up four passes, intercepting another and generally shutting down A.J. Brown. But matchups against Florida and Georgia were more challenging, and he struggled to deal with the detailed release and route-running prowess of Van Jefferson, Terry Godwin and Riley Ridley.
Williams best fit in the NFL is as a press corner who is capable of defending zones with his mental processing, length and awareness, but his technique at the line of scrimmage must improve significantly for him to reach his peak in the NFL. He may never be an elite athlete or a top-notch playmaker, but his physical skills are worth cultivating because his length, strength and physicality are so disruptive to receivers at all levels of the field. If his technique can catch up, Williams is capable of becoming a solid no. 2 starting corner in the NFL, although certain matchups against shiftier receivers will always be a challenge for him.