BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots really liked what they saw out of Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams ahead of the NFL Draft. So when a run on corners started early in the second round, they traded up 11 spots to draft him at No. 45.
Williams, who had a private meeting with Bill Belichick ahead of the draft, was pretty emotional to hear his named called in Nashville:
His excitement carried over on when speaking with reporters on a conference call shortly after getting picked by the Patriots.
(Transcript provided by the Patriots.)
Q: Can you tell us about the workout you had with Bill Belichick?
JW: I had a private workout. It was a good workout. We watched film and just went through some drills and we talked a lot of ball, so it was definitely pretty nice.
Q: You were on Good Morning Football a couple of weeks ago and Peter Schrager said that you already seemed like a New England Patriot. Did you think it was really going to happen?
JW: The draft is pretty crazy, so wherever the chips fell, I was going to be excited to go to, and I’m pretty excited.
Q: Did you talk to Coach Belichick at all about playing in the slot or playing safety?
JW: He said he saw me as a corner, but at the end of the day, I’ll play wherever he sees me to fit and I trust in the system. I trust in him and I trust in the system and I just want to contribute to the team.
Q: What would you say are your best attributes?
JW: I feel like I have the complete package – I can run, cover and hit. At the end of the day, if you look at all of my numbers in the SEC, I was ranked first in everything, whether it was passes defended, pass break-ups, interceptions as a corner, solo tackles as a corner. So, I feel like that complete package is what I bring to the team.
Q: How much experience do you have covering tight ends?
JW: I go against a very good tight end at Vanderbilt right now in Jared Pinkney. But, at the end of the day, I feel like I can cover anybody.
Q: What did you learn from covering guys like Miles Boykin and A.J. Brown and Riley Ridley and all of those guys last year?
JW: That competitive nature – with those big guys, you’ve got to get hands on them. You’ve got to keep their route and you’ve got to disrupt their route. So, getting your hands on them early, disrupting their release, disrupting their route and making sure you fight for the ball, and that’s the biggest thing. They will go up and get the ball, so you’ve got to go up there and fight for it. That’s something I feel like I bring to the table.
Q: Can you describe what it was like tonight to be drafted in your hometown of Nashville where you also went to college and have your family there?
JW: I’m just very excited. It’s so special, it’s so special to be drafted in my hometown, where I grew up, where I went to school. I just want to represent for where I stay, I want to represent for the 615 and that’s something I plan on doing, bringing it up to Boston, bringing it up to Foxborough.
Q: Where did you watch the draft tonight and who are you watching with?
JW: I was in the green room watching it with my family.
Q: Have you played inside at all or is it all boundary?
JW: I played inside when I would travel against wide receivers, but last year the coaches wanted me primarily at the boundary by the end of the year and that’s what I did. At the end of the day, I’ll do whatever the coaches say. I feel like I can contribute anywhere.
Q: What do you hope to learn working with All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore?
JW: I plan on picking his brain. Whatever I can get from him, I plan on picking it. At the end of the day, he’s one of the best in the league and I want to be one of the best in the league. I have to learn from the greats and whatever he does – eating, sleeping, nutrition, treatment – I want to pick from him and try to get that off his game. From playbook to life, that’s something I want to learn because I want to be one of the greats just like him.
Q: What kind of relationship did you have with Adam Butler at Vanderbilt?
JW: That’s my dog, man. He was a senior when I was a freshman, but he took me under his wing. He actually just sent me a message, a congratulations message. We were talking before the draft. It was crazy because we talked the day before the draft and he was just hyping me up, telling me he’s excited for me. Man, I’m excited to play with him again.
Q: Did you take a visit to Foxboro before the draft?
JW: No, I just had two private workouts.
Q: Did you consider yourself a leader on that defense your last year at Vanderbilt?
JW: Yeah, I definitely consider myself a leader. You know, with my corners group, I would always, each week do it up right up on their three best wide receivers, send it out to the corners group message and the DBs group message and let them have at it. But I mean, I definitely feel like I was a leader. I feel like for me, I led by example. I led by actions. I’m not the type that’s going to yell and get in your face about anything. I want to lead by action, I want to lead by making plays.
Q: That extra homework or sharing of the scouting report of opposing receivers, is that something that you like doing?
JW: No doubt. I want to be a coach after this game is over with. And so this is just helping me get to that level before I become like a GA [graduate assistant] or an intern so I don’t have to cram for everything. This is football, something I love doing and have been doing this since I was five. I watch film like I watch Game of Thrones or something. But that’s just who I am. Football runs in my blood. That’s definitely how I work.
Q: How would you describe the culture of the Vanderbilt football program and the coaching that you received? We know that Coach Belichick has a really good relationship with the staff at Vanderbilt.
JW: It was funny, when he [Bill Belichick] came down for his visit, when he came down for the private workout, I was asking him where’s his crib here in Nashville and he was talking about Franklin. We were just joking about it and I was like, ‘Oh, you live in a nice part of town, huh?’ We were just joking and laughing about it but it’s cool that he has that Nashville connection. But, at the end of the day, I’m just excited to get up to Foxborough and I’m excited to contribute to the team.
Q: You’re kind of a film junkie. Are there any corners you study?
JW: Definitely. I would say I studied Jalen Ramsey and Richard Sherman. Those are two I like to study a lot. They have the same traits as I do, but at the end of the day, I want to find what’s best for me. But those are two guys I look up to.
Q: Richard Sherman played for Coach Derek Mason, as well, at Stanford. Is that somebody you had a chance to meet over the years?
JW: I got a chance to meet him once at the Nike opening, but that was the only time. But watching his game, you see how he plays, you see how smart he is – that’s something you can definitely look up to.
Q: How do you think your game compares to his?
JW: At the end of the day, even though I look up to those two guys, I’m my own person. I can’t say, ‘Am I better than this person or am I better than that person.’ I’m my own guy. I feel like, like I said before, that I’ve got the full package. I can run, cover and hit. That’s something I want to bring to the team any type of way.
Q: You said you had two separate private workouts with the Patriots?
Q: Was the second one more film-intensive? Did you feel like you got a little deeper with the film stuff on the second one?
JW: The first one with Bill Belichick was more film than ball work, and the second was more agility.