BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots spent the entire first round of the 2019 NFL Draft waiting. They were not waiting around Friday night.
The Patriots traded up to No. 45 to select Vanderbilt corner Joejuan Williams, sending the picks Nos. 56 and 101 to the Los Angeles Rams.
Williams measures in at 6-foot-4 and 211 lbs, so he’ll bring plenty of size to New England’s defensive backfield. He is coming off a strong junior season with the Commodores, recording four interceptions and 18 pass breakups (leading the SEC) in his 13 starts. He earned second-team All-SEC honors for his efforts against some of the best receivers in college football.
Scouts saw Williams as an aggressive press corner who can use his size against bigger opponents. He is also praised for having a high football IQ and has been compared to All-Pro corner Richard Sherman.
Chances are he’ll get to develop behind the scenes for a few years with Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Johnathan Jones, J.C. Jackson and 2018 second-round pick Duke Dawson ahead of him on the depth chart. But with his size, he could find himself matching up with some opposing tight ends in his first NFL season.
There was a run on corners to start the second round on Friday night, and moving up 11 spots to draft Williams shows the Patriots were pretty high on the 21-year-old.