NFP Prospect Focus: P.J. Williams and Ron Darby

The corner class in this year’s draft is good but not great. There is not anyone that we can say will eventually become a solid number one corner in the league. There are a few who may ascend to that level, but no one is a lock. Like most years, the depth is fairly decent. In most drafts, going back to the mid 1990’s, 12 -15 corners would get drafted in the first three rounds. I see no reason why that won’t happen this year. While it’s always hard to find a school with one top corner, Florida State had two this year, and both could very easily go in the second round. P.J. Williams and Ron Darby are both third year juniors who entered the draft early and should become starters in the league early in their careers. P.J. Williams – Florida State Williams is a third year junior and a two year starter. On tape, he is consistently the better of the two FSU corners, and he has a very solid overall game. At 6’0 – 194 he has excellent size. At the Combine, he did not run well, and that concerned people. His best time was 4.57. Everything else he did well including a 40” vertical jump and an 11’ standing long jump. Just a few days ago at the FSU pro day, Williams improved his time and ran a 4.47 which took care of the speed fears some clubs had. He also improved on his jumps, going 41” in the vertical and 11’3 in the long jump. As an athlete, Williams is very smooth. He stays low in his pedal, can turn, and has a quick burst out of his turn. He has very quick feet and overall body control and can transition very quickly. In coverage, he is adept at playing press, zone, or off. He can be physical and will try and reroute a receiver. In zone, he is alert and has excellent receiver awareness. Williams is a very consistent run support player who can shed blocks and is a consistent tackler. It can be said that he has a strong overall game with no glaring weakness. His improved speed at the FSU pro day helped his stock. He should be able to come in and, at worst, be a third corner as a rookie and will ascend to being a solid number two corner for most clubs. Going forward, his problem may be from an off field circumstance. On the morning of April 3rd, Williams was charged with a DUI. While that will obviously have an effect on where he gets drafted, we won’t know until draft weekend how much it will affect him. Clubs have about another three weeks to get all the information and all will perform their due diligence. Ron Darby – Florida State Coming out of high school, Darby was the more heavily recruited player of the two and originally committed to Notre Dame early in the process. That commitment never seemed real as Darby kept taking visits to other schools and eventually committed and signed with Florida State. In high school, Darby was not only a top football player, he was also a highly regarded sprinter who was on some USA junior national teams that competed internationally. Darby is a true third year junior and a two year starter. He has good size at 5’11 – 193 with excellent speed (4.37). He is also very explosive with a vertical jump of 41.5” and a 10’9 long jump. His overall athleticism and body control is excellent. He has a quick low pedal and a quick turn. He has the speed to stay with speed receivers all over the field and he can transition quickly and smoothly. In press coverage he has a good jam and very solid mirror skills. He is similar in zone, in that he consistently keeps good position and shows very good awareness. He shows a problem on tape with his ball skills. He can have good position but doesn’t always track the ball well. He has only two career interceptions. At both the Combine and his pro day, he did track the ball well and showed good hands. So some of those fears may have been alleviated. Darby is also not a top run support player. While he is willing, he can be a bit inconsistent with shedding blocks and has to tackle better. On tape, he is more of a hitter than a wrapper. Overall, Darby has the skills to eventually become a solid number two corner. He needs to improve his ball skills and tackling but that shouldn’t be a problem. He will most likely get drafted early in the second round. I have heard that some clubs that have a first round grade on him. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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