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Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams As our Saints draft pick intel series continues I was especially thankful to get this guest, who is a well respected sports writer in the business, in Kyle Goon of ...

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Old 05-24-2017, 07:08 AM   #1
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Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

As our Saints draft pick intel series continues I was especially thankful to get this guest, who is a well respected sports writer in the business, in Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune. Many thanks to Kyle to taking the time out of his very busy schedule and please be sure to check him out on Twitter. Below is our Q&A and what he had to say about new Saints safety Marcus Williams.


The Sports Daily > The Saints Nation
from Salt Lake Tribune sports writer @KyleGoon
Posted by Andrew Juge on May 24, 2017





Andrew Juge, Saints Nation: The Saints employ a lot of single high safety looks where players (Malcolm Jenkins and Jairus Byrd, for example) have struggled to make plays because they are so far back in center field. In other systems, those guys have played well and produced Ė but not as the high safety in New Orleans. I think the biggest issue for those two is playing away from the line of scrimmage and not having the closing speed vertically. Do you think Williams may be able to do better with his instincts and closing speed?
Kyle Goon, Salt Lake Tribune: ​When I think of Marcusí closing ability, I think of the Arizona St game
where he was drifting to his left, saw the quarterbackís eyes, and cut back halfway across the field to jump in front of the pass. He has great eye recognition, and he has enough athletic ability to make really good shifts in the open field. I donít think he ran the Combine 40 as fast as he wanted to (4.56), but he always seemed faster playing the game in part because his ability to read plays is so good. In the run game, he played more of a safeguard for the linebackers (who were not good this past year), but if you watch clips from that same game (in which Williams is making a return from a leg injury), youíll note that he is able to get to runners, particularly on sweeps.

Is it fair to say Williams is more of a cover guy / ballhawk and not really a box safety that is going to be a thumper against the run? Or would you dispute that?
​In Williamsí defens​e, Pro Football Focus graded him the top-tackling FBS safety last season. Heís very fundamentally sound. He lines up and form tackles really well. Given his thin frame, I donít think weíre talking about a guy who hits like Brian Dawkins. I think his best skills lie in his coverage and catching ability, as well as his ability to turn it up field once heís gotten the ball. But as long as he is able to add some weight, heís shown the ability at the college level to stop people ó just not level them.
How NFL ready do you think he is? Iíve read heís a little lanky and could use a year in an NFL weight room. Do you think he can make an impact in year one?
​Yes, heís definitely thin for the NFL level. He probably needs at least 10 more pounds, and thatís tricky considering that the Saints also drafted him to be fast to the ball. I think the hope is that Williams will just grow and mature into his body, which is totally reasonable given that he is only 20 years old. At Utah, he played some as a freshman and was exposed early, especially in a game against Washington State. But by the end of his freshman year, he was at least consistent, learning schemes and ins and outs of the college game. By his sophomore year, he was among the best players on the defense. I suspect the NFL could go the same way for Marcus.​
What is the realistic floor and ceiling for Williams? How excited should Saints fans be about his potential?
​I think he has a really high ceiling. Marcus was one of those players that was so consistent and solid that fans sometimes didnít even recognize how good he was. Then, against UCLA he sat out with injury: While the Utes intercepted the Bruinsí QB a bunch of times, they gave up about 475 yards through the air.​ His presence at the college level changed games: Teams had to account for him playing centerfield and being a threat to bring a pick back, so they stopped throwing to him and attacked the edges instead. His side-to-side range, as shown in the Arizona State clip, is really, really good. And he didnít give up much in the run game at the college level, though as previously stated, he probably will have to work on his body to deal with NFL running backs. I donít like to promise a player is going to be an All-Pro or anything like that, but I think given his age and his instincts, Marcus could be a long-time player in the NFL.
His playmaking and interception production at Utah was off the charts. What makes him special? Do you think his basketball background helped?
Absolutely. Somewhere on the Internet, thereís a clip of Marcus dunking on one of his Utah teammates last summer. That vertical ability showed at the Combine as well, where he was one of the best leaping defensive backs. I think basketball helped give him a unique body control as well that has helped him get the ball skill he has. His reactions are kind of unbelievable.
, in which he caught the ball ricocheting off a receiverís foot, is probably the most athletic football play Iíve seen live.​ The recognition, the cutback and the snatch are all top-level elements by themselves, and the combination led to a stunning play. What makes him special is heís capable of putting those tools together.

Anything we should know about him as a person? Is he a good locker room / character type player?
Youíll probably learn soon that Marcus isnít a huge fan of the media: He tried to sneak out of interviews, or would give curt answers when he was impatient with questions. So in that way heís kind of inscrutable. But with teammates and coaches, he was very different. In practice, he really likes to talk trash and get in receiversí heads. In meetings, heís generally regarded as very studious and mindful of opponent schemes and tendencies (he was also an outstanding academic student). Marcus is extremely guarded about his family and background, but my understanding is that he is religious to the point of being a little more antisocial when it comes to off-field activities. In his Saints introductory conference call, a media member coyly asked if he was looking forward to experiencing anything in particular in New Orleans. Thereís all kinds of subtext there: food, drinking, parades, good times, etc. But Marcus said he was looking forward to meeting with all the coaches again. Thatís the kind of person Marcus is: very businesslike.​

Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams from Salt Lake Tribune sports writer @KyleGoon | The Saints Nation

Intel on Saints 3rd Round Pick Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara from @AllforTennessee
Intel on Saints 3rd Round Pick Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara from @AllforTennessee | The Saints Nation

Intel on Saints 3rd round pick DE Trey Hendrickson from Sun Sentinel Sports Writer @MDeFranks
Intel on Saints 3rd round pick DE Trey Hendrickson from Sun Sentinel Sports Writer @MDeFranks | The Saints Nation

Intel on Saints 6th round pick Miami DE Al-Quadin Muhammad from @TheStateOfTheU

Intel on Saints 6th round pick Miami DE Al-Quadin Muhammad from @TheStateOfTheU | The Saints Nation

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Old 05-24-2017, 08:14 AM   #2
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Good stuff.

In time, I think this will be a golden draft pick the Saints staff can be proud of. He is only 20 years old, high football IQ and a high ceiling... nice.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:49 AM   #3
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Good Read, Kevin...
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Old 05-24-2017, 04:03 PM   #4
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

With two of my 3 picks drafted

Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams from Salt Lake Tribune sports writer @KyleGoon

Intel on Saints 3rd round pick DE Trey Hendrickson from Sun Sentinel Sports Writer @MDeFranks


Waiting for the write up on Ryan Ramczyk

I have a lot of crow riding on this draft
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:03 PM   #5
 
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Originally Posted by hagan714 View Post
With two of my 3 picks drafted

Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams from Salt Lake Tribune sports writer @KyleGoon

Intel on Saints 3rd round pick DE Trey Hendrickson from Sun Sentinel Sports Writer @MDeFranks


Waiting for the write up on Ryan Ramczyk

I have a lot of crow riding on this draft
Hopefully we'll be ready for you!

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Old 05-27-2017, 12:13 AM   #6
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Could be the real deal.
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Old 05-27-2017, 12:41 AM   #7
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Originally Posted by hagan714 View Post
I have a lot of crow riding on this draft
No doubt... You are an instigator.

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Old 05-27-2017, 09:47 PM   #8
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

CAT FIGHT!
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:43 PM   #9
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Be real interesting to see if the Saints wait until after the season to decide to extend Kenny Vaccaro, tag him for one more year, or else...
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:16 PM   #10
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Re: Intel on Saints 2nd Round Pick Utah FS Marcus Williams

Three legit safeties on the team.
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