Among the many areas of change with the San Diego Chargers this offseason, the cornerback position ranks up near the top of the list. Longtime Bolts in Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are now calling somewhere new home leaving the team with all new starters on the edge for the 2013 campaign. One player that will find himself right in the thick of the fight for a starting gig come training camp is fifth round draft pick Steve Williams.
At just 5’9” 181lbs., Williams is in no way an imposing defender. It’s likely he may not have a size advantage against one receiver he lines up across from in the coming year, but that won’t keep the former California Golden Bear from being successful. While he may be on the smallish side, Williams makes up for it with athletic ability as he posted some remarkable numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical, and a 10-for-8 broad jump. That shows some serious explosion in his game; so while he may be compact, Williams still has the ability to stick with opposing receivers like glue.
One of those receivers he will be facing off against on a daily basis in training camp is quite the familiar face for Williams. The Chargers selected his Cal teammate, Keenan Allen, in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft two rounds before selecting Williams. Allen is excited to keep his former (and then current again) teammate around as he said:
“I was excited when I saw he was drafted, more excited than I was when I was drafted to be honest, knowing that I wasn’t going to be out here alone. It’s going to be just like old times competing against him at practice. That’s what we do. We get after it. I’m happy to have him here.”
Williams is just as fond of maintaining the teammate label with Allen as he said:
“It’s a great feeling to have him here. Not just because he’s a friend, but he’s a great player and he’ll help us get some wins. He’s very savvy and a great route runner. He’s just a good player. ”
As for just what to expect from the rookie corner in 2013, right now it looks as if Williams will be the starting nickel back if not even higher on the depth chart to start the season. Free agent acquisition Derek Cox is atop the depth chart, but after him Shareece Wright, Johnny Patick, and Williams all appear to be on even footing. Whoever impresses the most at training camp will likely earn the nod to start on the other side.
In today’s NFL where teams may as well refer to their so-called sub packages as base packages, three and four corners tend to be more the norm than the extreme. Williams is likely to see plenty of playing time as a rookie, and he will make a serious impact during year one in the Bolts secondary.