The headline-grabbing cornerback on the Los Angeles Rams for the November 15 showdown against Seattle played his role skillfully: Locked down his side, denied an end zone touchdown and snatched two interceptions of All-Pro quarterback Russell Wilson to lead the way.
But this was not Jalen Ramsey, this was his teammate Darious Williams. In Ramsey fashion, Williams channeled his own inner ballhawk and shutdown ability as if he was the two-time All-Pro standout. The night became Williams’ breakout party and showed national audiences about the other CB on the Rams.
And the verbose Ramsey let it be known that the Rams have more than one lockdown/playmaking corner.
“I think it’s time to start talking about ‘D-Will’ in this league as a household name, as a guy who could potentially be an All-Pro, as a guy who should be a Pro Bowler,” Ramsey told the Los Angeles Times following the victory over the Seahawks.
With Rams training camp now 17 days away and Williams fresh off a career highlight season, others from the NFL Twitter account, to one national analytics site to fans are chiming in and letting it be known: Don’t sleep on Williams in 2021.
NFL Twitter Account and PFF on the Williams Train
The fourth-year cornerback from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) already has two national backers in the official NFL Twitter account and Pro Football Focus. The former sent out this tweet at approximately 2:50 p.m. PT on Saturday:
And Ram fans immediately began predicting a breakout 2021 for Williams.
Plus one believing Williams’ play will lift the Rams to the franchise’s second Vince Lombardi Trophy.
And one Rams fan account from Germany that has recognized Williams’ skill set overseas.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus is another believer in Williams, listing him with a higher player grade compared to Ramsey with a score of 81 in comparison to Ramsey’s 77.3. In fact, in a July 1 PFF article written by Ben Linsey, Williams is one of just three defenders from the league’s best unit in 2020 who graded out at 80 or higher. Only safety Terrell Burgess (85.3 rating) and defensive lineman Aaron Donald (94.2) were given higher scores.
Mike Renner was another PFF representative who lauded Williams’ CB play in a December 13 clip, placing the Ram at No. 2 for “Breakout Players of 2020.”
There are fans, though, who mentioned to PFF Twitter how they believe the Ram is underrated.
And one fan who calls for Williams to emerge as the league’s top ballhawk among these selections made by PFF.
Williams Cracked the Top 10 on Another List
NFL Twitter and PFF aren’t the only two nationals that have taken Williams’ CB game seriously.
Mark Schofield of USA Today’s Touchdown Wire listed Williams in his top 11 outside cornerbacks on June 16, even putting him ahead of former Ram and three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Peters at No. 10 overall. Schofield wrote this on “D-Will:”
“In his third season in the league Williams took a huge step forward in 2020, playing over 900 snaps and locking down one of the cornerback spots for Brandon Staley’s defense. He was impressive in coverage, allowing a completion of just 48.7% when targeted, and an opposing passer rating of a mere 55.4 when quarterbacks threw in his direction. His 11 pass breakups were a career-high mark.”
Including playoffs, Williams snatched five interceptions in 18 games. Wilson was the one QB he frustrated the most, picking the Seahawk off three times which includes this pick six where “D-Will” breaks through the trips formation his side.
A further breakdown of his pick six was illustrated by Next Gen Stats.
Outside of snatching takeaways, Williams rarely surrendered big yardage in coverage. In his last playoff game, he held Marquez Valdes-Scantling – who entered the game averaging 20.9 yards a catch during the regular season – to just an 8.3 yards per catch average with his longest reception stretching 12 yards. Here’s an example of how he played Valdes-Scantling deep:
Moving forward, all signs are indicating Williams will see the football some more with Ramsey opposite of him. And with new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris having coached similar CB’s like Ronde Barber and DeAngelo Hall, the pick numbers and production could go up for Williams. To paraphrase Ramsey’s November statement: It’s time to recognize “D-Will” as a household name.