The Jacksonville depth at safety is questionable at best, with Gerald Sensabaugh coming off shoulder surgery, veteran Pierson Prioleau never making himself a fixture on any team in his nine year career, and Jamaal Fudge being well, just a guy. Chad Nkang is listed as a safety, but he is mostly a contributor on special teams.
The Jaguars may have an opportunity to strengthen their safety depth with a talented player thanks to their former defensive coordinator, Falcons head coach Mike Smith. Smith decided to waive former Falcons second-round pick, free safety Jimmy Williams from Virginia Tech on Tuesday.
"It's a football decision," new Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "It's a decision we made, and one that we've been evaluating."
Williams is a talented safety with good size (6'3", 215 lbs.), who has started just seven games in two years with the Atlanta Falcons. Williams is 24 years old, and has plenty of upside, although he may have been drafted too high back in 2006. After struggling as a corner, his original drafted position, the Falcons attempted to move him to safety prior to the 2007 season, a move which obviously didn't work out for the NFC South cellar-dwellers. Scout NFL Expert Chris Steuber weighed in with his thoughts on Jimmy Williams--
"Williams is extremely talented and has a lot of physical tools, but he's a very immature player who hasn't developed the way he was projected to."Just as any player that is available at this time of year, there are certainly some question marks associated with Williams. It was reported that the former Falcons safety reported to mini-camp approximately 20 lbs. overweight, which drew the ire of his new head coach. Still, Williams showed up to all voluntary and involuntary team workouts. Scout.com NFL expert and Sirius Radio host Adam Caplan had this to say about Williams--
"He's a versatile player who has experience at both safety and cornerback. He has tremendous size, great speed and is a solid tackler. But Williams' problems are not on the field, they're off the field. If he matures and starts to work at his craft he can become a very good player in the NFL. He's too talented for a team not to take a chance on him, but it says a lot that the Falcons, who are trying to create a new identity for their franchise, decided to let him go. For Williams to realize his true potential, he has to clean up his act off the field."
"He was seen as a big, hybrid defensive back (CB/S) coming out of the draft, but he wound up being too slow. Work ethic is an issue. He hardly played for Atlanta and was benched last season."One of the biggest things Williams may have had going against him in Atlanta is his college affiliation (Virginia Tech). Falcons owner Arthur Blank has appeared to be on somewhat of a tirade to rid the franchise of all things Michael Vick, which is certainly understandable. Williams was one of five former Hokies on Atlanta's roster, along with cornerback DeAngelo Hall, quarterback Bryan Randall, guard Matt Lehr, and of course Vick, and the currently imprisoned quarterback is the only player from that group that technically remains on the roster.
By all accounts, Williams has been a bust thus far in his career, but he's only 24 years old, and there's time for him to change that perception and resurrect his NFL career in Jacksonville or somewhere else. He has size and talent, which can't be taught, and he hasn't been a malcontent at this point in his career. The question for the Jaguars organization must be, can Williams be an upgrade in the secondary? He obviously has a higher ceiling than that of Pierson Prioleau, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Jamaal Fudge, and he was figured by many to be a first-round pick as a cornerback just a couple years ago. If Jack Del Rio, Gregg Williams, and Donnie Henderson want to get an honest opinion on Williams, all they have to do is call Mike Smith, who remains a close friend to Jack Del Rio.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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