Dolphins Wire UDFA Player Profile: Oregon S Bennett Williams
Continuing in the Dolphins Wire undrafted free agent player profile series, one of the rookies brought in for camp competition enters South Florida with familiar faces welcoming him. For a third straight season, general manager Chris Grier has gone to a specific defensive backfield talent well which happens to be located in Eugene, Oregon.
Over the past three years, those NFL draft weekends have seen an Oregon Duck safety added to the flock of Dolphin defenders. In 2021 Jevon Holland was drafted in the second round, and last season Verone McKinley III was called during the post-draft process and signed as an undrafted free agent.
Last month, as the 2023 selection process concluded, Grier and staff hit the phones, and another Pacific Northwest-bound call was placed, this time to safety Bennett Williams.
Playing three seasons at Oregon from 2020-22, Williams transferred from the College of San Mateo after a redshirt year in 2018 and then a very productive 2019, when he was named as a top-30 junior college prospect by multiple publications. Originally, he attended Illinois in 2017 following his prep career, but after one season, transferred to the junior college.
Entering Oregon in 2020 for a shortened season due to the pandemic, Williams played in all seven games and started two of them. Building off some momentum heading into 2021, Williams started the year strong and was nationally recognized in an early-season game against Utah.
He was fantastic with a pair of interceptions and 14 total tackles, earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week as well as several other weekly accolades. Unfortunately, momentum was soon after halted, and 2021 was shortened for another reason for Williams, as he was injured the following week.
Coming back full-strength and starting all of Oregon’s 2022 games as a senior, Williams was the Ducks’ leading tackler last season with 72. He added a sack, eight passes defensed, two interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles.
He was named as a coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention, and some scouts slated him as a potential Day 3 selection heading into the draft weekend.
Standing at 6 feet and 205 pounds, Williams makes up for average athleticism and speed with solid size for the position and instinctive ball-hawking coverage skills. He has the versatility to play in the middle of the secondary, single-high safety, as well as in the box as a nickel back. Yet another player with slot covering ability for new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his staff to work with.
Outside of coverage skills, Williams excels against the run, tracking and closing in on ball carriers very well and is a quality tackler. Not only do his defensive back skills translate into a practice squad player to watch and develop, but he’s also a special teams candidate to make waves in coverage duties.
With a loaded secondary, it’d be nearly impossible to see a path to Miami’s 53-man roster for any UDFA defensive back, however, special teams could always separate prospects from the heap, and an “ace” role for Williams could be something to look for.
He has the intangibles that you want in this type of job, being a fine tackler and having the grit to do the special team’s dirty work. Williams could be another Duck to root for in becoming a part of this Dolphins’ overall roster.
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