Joejuan Williams Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Very good ball reaction
Able to battle big receivers
Doesn't panic when the ball is thrown at him
Very good ball skills
Impressive hands for a big corner
Plays the ball
Willing run defender
Supports run defense
Deep speed could be a problem for him
Lacks short-area quickness
Lacks mirror ability
Doesn't use his hands and length as well as he should
Summary: Since the Seattle Seahawks put together their Legion of Boom secondary, big cornerbacks have enjoyed a lot of demand in the NFL. Big corners who can play press-man coverage and line up on tall receivers are always helpful for a defense to neutralize size mismatches, and Williams could be one of those kind of cornerbacks for the NFL.
Over the past couple of seasons, Williams was a steady corner for Vanderbilt. As a sophomore, he totaled 39 tackles with 10 passes broken up and zero interceptions. In 2018, Williams was excellent and one of the better corners in the SEC. The junior totaled 61 tackles, four interceptions and 14 passes broken up in his impressive year. Williams decided to skip his senior year and enter the 2019 NFL Draft. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a slow 40 time of 4.68 seconds.
For the next level, Williams is a press-man corner to play on the outside and line up against big receivers. Williams has very good ball skills, height and length, plus is a solid tackler. He does need to get more physical with receivers and use his length to jam them at the line. That is a technique issue that can be coached up. There is no doubt that Williams should be protected from lining up against speed receivers as a pro. Some evaluators are considering moving Williams to safety because of his lack of foot speed.
Infinitely more important than my opinion, or anybody else in the media, is the opinion of team evaluators. Here is how one area scout summarized Williams, "He's a big corner who lacks ideal movement and top-end speed. Very good ball reaction and strong finisher on the ball. Williams tackles well, but never uses his hands and length to press. Lacks good short-area quickness and mirror ability. Has a rough time staying phase in man coverage. Lacks vertical juice, but he's big with decent instincts and ball skills. Running well might have gotten him into the second round, but I think he's probably more of a third[-rounder] after posting that 4.68 time in the 40."
Some other team sources told WalterFootball.com they had Williams graded in the third round as well, and some had him as a high fourth-rounder. For the NFL, they see him as a backup who could develop into a starter.
Player Comparison: Sean Smith. Sources have said that Williams reminds them of a slower version of Smith. That comparison makes a lot of sense as Smith (6-3, 220) and Williams are almost identical in size. Smith was a second-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and Williams could go a little lower than that. In the NFL, I think Williams could have a similar career to Smith.
NFL Matches: Tampa Bay, New York Giants, Denver, Washington, Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Houston, Kansas City, Philadelphia
On the second day of the draft, there are a lot of potential landing spots for Williams. Cornerback could be in play for the Giants at the top of Day 2. The position is a need for the defense after trading away Eli Apple, plus Janoris Jenkins could be a cap cut before long.
The Bucs need corner help as Vernon Hargreaves has disappointed and Brent Grimes is gone. However, Tampa Bay took a few corners early on in the 2018 NFL Draft, so the organization may not take a corner in the early rounds this year.
The Broncos badly needs cornerback help this offseason. They signed Kareem Jackson, but they still have to replace Aqib Talib and find some other upgrades. If the Redskins are planning on cutting Josh Norman in a year or so, they could consider Williams on Day 2. Carolina has some quality cornerbacks, but could use a third one and depth. Williams could be in play for the Panthers on the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Cleveland made a great pick in Denzel Ward last year and could use an upgrade to go with him. Corner is one of the biggest needs on the Browns' roster, so in that regard, the team would be a nice fit for Williams. However, I'm not sure that Williams would be a fit for Steve Wilks' scheme.
Pittsburgh could use more corner talent, and Williams could help finish off a trio with Joe Haden and Artie Burns.
Cornerback was a weakness for the Texans last offseason, and they swung and missed on an upgrade as Aaron Colvin was a bust. They signed some pedestrian veterans in free agency, but they could use more long-term answers. Houston's corners were a liability in 2018, so adding more talent is critical.
Philadelphia has two second-round picks and needs cornerback help, especially if Ronald Darby is not in the long-term plans. The Chiefs need to upgrade their defense and could target a corner like Williams to help out their secondary.