Leading up to the 2019 NFL draft, which starts April 25, Yahoo Sports will count down our top 100 overall prospects. We’ll count them down 10 at a time, followed by profiles on our top 30 overall players.
Previous entries: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30. Drew Lock | 29. Deandre Baker | 28. Taylor Rapp | 27. Garrett Bradbury | 26. Dexter Lawrence | 25. Jerry Tillery | 24. Josh Jacobs | 23. Christian Wilkins | 22. Cody Ford | 21. Noah Fant | 20. Andre Dillard
19. LSU CB Greedy Williams
6-foot-2, 185 pounds
Key stat: As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Williams became only the third player in the SEC since 2008 to lead the conference in both passes defended and interceptions.
The skinny: Born Andraez Williams, "Greedy" has carried his nickname for most of his life (scroll down and read about how he earned it) and it has turned out to be the perfect moniker for his position. Williams won two state titles as a prep player in Shreveport, Louisiana, and committed to LSU as a four-star prospect, joining his former youth football teammate, Devin White, another top-20 prospect in the 2019 draft class.
After redshirting at the school known as “DBU” his freshman year, Williams stepped in for a suspended Kevin Tolliver for the first game of the 2017 season and intercepted a pass and kickstarted a brilliant redshirt freshman season. He was named third-team AP All-America, first-team All-SEC (media) and second-team All-SEC (coaches) with a conference-best six INTs and 17 passes defended.
As a sophomore in 2018, Williams intercepted only two passes but still was named to several first- and second-team All-America lists and also was a Thorpe Award finalist and first-team All-SEC. Williams, who turns 22 in December, skipped the Fiesta Bowl and declare early for the 2019 NFL draft.
Williams’ older brother, Rodarius Williams, is still a starting cornerback at Oklahoma State despite being born more than a year before Greedy.
Williams has a daughter, Khloe, who turned 2 in February.
Upside: Long, lean build and good length. Long strider who can glide and stick with gifted route runners in man coverage. Possesses high-end, build-up speed (ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the combine), rarely is caught out of position and makes plays on the ball. Strong body control and loose hips to close and break on the ball. Make-up speed to close fast. Rare wasted movement to cover his man or turf.
Tantalizing ball skills. Plays with a ball-is-mine mentality. Deflected 28 passes and picked off eight more in 24 college games. Freshman year showed as much upside as any corner in the past few seasons. Teams generally avoided his side of the field, at least early last season. Great hand-eye coordination and timing. Good eyes in man coverage – looks through the receiver and keeps radar up for potential INTs. Adept at defending fades and back-shoulder throws, especially packed in deep in the red zone.
Did a good job shadowing Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf last season, holding him to three catches (37 yards) and drawing an OPI call in the end zone. Can naturally mirror less twitchy receivers and get in their hip pocket. Will change up his technique at the line and keep receivers guessing. Used as occasional blitzer and displayed good timing and instincts with it.
Football in his bloodlines – in addition to his older brother, Greedy is cousins with former LSU and current Buffalo Bills first-round CB Tre’Davious White. Troubled upbringing appears to be a motivating force, and caring for his daughter appears important to Williams. He still has a lot of good football in him – just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Very little wear and tear on his frame. More upside than any big corner in this draft class. Possesses Pro Bowl talent and can be a ball thief at the next level for many years.
Downside: Playing temperament – at least in some games – has been questioned by scouts. Appeared completely disinterested in tackling against Georgia and appeared to be playing not to get hurt late in the season, namely in the seven-OT loss to Texas A&M (did not perform on special teams in the game, which ended up being his final college contest). Attitude seemed to change from first few years on campus when he was trying to prove himself in loaded secondary (Donte Jackson, Jamal Adams, Kristian Fulton, Saivion Smith, White, Tolliver and others) to when he experienced success. Some NFL teams have cast him as arrogant and immature and have complained about his attitude. Turned down some requests from scouts to do additional drills at pro day.
Relies too much on his length and natural athleticism. Needs to develop better off-man technique – stands up high in his backpedal and will give too big a cushion and let teams nickel and dime him. Watch the Alabama game and you’ll see 2020 prospect Jerry Jeudy taking his lunch repeatedly. Had a few coverage lapses and communication errors in zone (see Auburn, Georgia games) that must be cleaned up. Lacks short-area burst to rely on playing a finesse style most of the time.
Ball production fell off in 2018 and didn’t locate passes quite as readily. Hasn’t been top-end playmaker with ball in his hands – longest of his eight INT returns was 28 yards in 2017. Short-area burst – shown at the combine in a 1.51-second 10-yard split – didn’t always show up on tape. Flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after continuously jawing at Ole Miss bench. Gets too handsy downfield – watch as Williams gets away with this late grab vs. Auburn’s Darius Slayton (after being called earlier for a facemask against him) 30 yards downfield at around the 7:08 mark:
Must get stronger. Lean build – could stand to add some armor to his frame and not enough upper-body strength (eight bench-press reps at pro day) to press bigger NFL receivers. Shows up in his play – needs to learn how to better use his hands. Cut tackler and ankle diver – doesn’t drive through ball carriers. Sticks to blocks against the run and doesn’t disengage well enough. Might never be a grit-under-his-fingernails player.
Best-suited destination: Williams is a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder prospect. Some teams love him; others do not. His grades are all over the place, which will affect his draft status, and his NFL success is greatly dependent on the environment in which Williams lands. The grade we’ve given him reflects his high-end potential, assuming he matches with the right system and regains more of his competitiveness. If that happens, he could be a multiple-Pro Bowl corner who nonetheless could have some frustrating stretches along the way of his career.
His best chance would be to land on a team that mixes a combination of press-man, Cover 2 and 3 zones, and pattern-matching coverages where his length and ball skills can be best put to use, and if he lands on a team with a hyper-competitive DB room, it could further re-stoke his fire to be great. Among the teams that could be most interested in Williams’ services include the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.
Fact: Williams’ mother, Lakesha, is a single parent (starting at the age of 15) who raised her four children in tough circumstances in Shreveport, and his grandmother and aunt were there to help. They were the ones who nicknamed him “Greedy Deedy” (later shortened to just “Greedy”) because of the way he drank more milk as a baby than was prepared for him. And yes, Williams now loves the nickname. It fits perfectly for a confident cover corner.
Lakesha ended up marrying Greedy’s youth football coach – who also coached Devin White – and living in government housing, with Greedy’s biological father in prison for a time during his youth. Lakesha also overcame being diagnosed with cancer at age 28, and Greedy’s grandmother was also diagnosed with cancer, but both beat their diseases.
They said it: “He’s getting dinged for two games, but look at the tape. Look at the other 23 games. Look at the guy who dominated as a redshirt freshman. That’s the player an NFL team will be getting. [His immaturity] isn’t going to be a reason not to draft him.”
— source close to LSU, to Yahoo Sports
Player comp: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Expected draft range: Late first round, or perhaps early second
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