Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has an impressive track record when selecting players in the third round of the NFL Draft, and on Friday night, the Cardinals put their faith in cornerback Brandon Williams out of Texas A&M.
Williams checks in at 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, and ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The defensive back prospect is comparable to the Cardinals' first round draft pick in Robert Nkemdiche as both players were known for the bursts of speed they provided at their respective positions in college.
Williams finished the 2015 season at Texas A&M with 37 tackles including 1.0 tackle for loss, but did not record an interception. Williams did register seven pass breakups for the Aggies, and last season was the first in which he played defense at the college level.
Williams was a five-star recruit out of high school and initially signed with the Oklahoma Sooners as a running back. The Sooners had a loaded backfield early in Williams' college career, and he transferred to Texas A&M with the goal of remaining a running back.
After accounting for 379 rushing yards on 89 carries in 2014, Williams made the switch to cornerback and played in all 13 games for Texas A&M this season.
Williams joins an elite group of players selected in the third round under Steve Keim, who is managing his fourth NFL Draft with the Cardinals. In 2013, the team selected Tyrann Mathieu out of LSU and followed that up with the selection of John Brown in 2014 before landing running back David Johnson in last year's draft. All three players have developed into significant contributors for the Cardinals, and the organization hopes Williams will do the same.
The Cardinals are thin in the secondary after the loss of Rashad Johnson to free agency and the potential loss of starting cornerback Jerraud Powers, so drafting a defensive back was a high priority.
Though Williams' skills are raw, this is a speculative pick of a cornerback who possesses elite athleticism, which is a quality the Cardinals have valued in recent drafts.