Chiefs film room: Joshua Williams is high-ceiling, low-floor prospect

During the 2022 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs added another defensive back prospect in Joshua Williams. What areas does he excel in, or what areas does he need to grow?

Cornerback Joshua Williams is everything the Kansas City Chiefs look for in their cornerback projects.

Williams has the physical measurements. He stands at 6’3″ with ideal 32 7/8″ arms. He is a stout cornerback, weighing in at 195 lbs as well. While his 4.53 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Combine was not elite, his 1.50 10-yard split is. Williams has the physical tools to jump out of the film room and onto an NFL field.

Williams is an HBCU alum out of Fayetteville State. Viable NFL draft prospects are hard to find at the NCAA Division II level and even harder to find at HBCUs. Williams was the first HBCU prospect off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. It was a testament to his physical traits and upside, not his competition level.

There is no changing that now. Examing his limited film, Williams oozes potential.

One major drawback of Williams is the lack of accessible film. That is why he was a relative unknown to many fans. While there are highlight packages, those do not tell the full story. But, his performance at the 2022 NFL Combine and the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl provides some insight.

First impression

Williams has a strong first impression. He has fluid, quick feet paired with flexible hips. His backpedal is smooth and he is quick to turn his hips, both a good and bad trait.

Also, his arms really make up for his lack of polished technique. At the  Senior Bowl, Williams faced some of this year’s best wide receiver prospects. His long arms kept him competitive in many routes where another player would have been beaten. He looks most comfortable on the outside, which is no surprise.

There is notable wasted movement in his drops, which needs to be cleaned up. His reaction to quick cuts, especially on comebacks and curls, needs refinement. Williams is a step too slow in coming out of his backpedal.

Lastly, Williams is a competitor. Like much of Kansas City’s 2022 draft class, he has a nose for the ball and gets there in a hurry. Whether it is a run or a pass, Willams’ hands are near the ball. His 9 1/2″ hands make pass breakups seem easy for him, no matter the catch point.

He frequently blew up screen passes, bypassing blockers to deliver the hit. Williams is not afraid to tackle.

Doubletake

Some of Williams’ highlight plays could be attributed more to poor quarterback play than Williams making a play. For example, his lone pick-six of 2022 came from a slow, lofting pass at the goal line.  While Williams did make the right play, passing off one receiver for another on that play, it was him taking advantage of a poor read, not making the play happen.

Williams is willing to hit, but he needs to wrap up more, if not period. Many of his tackles for loss, available to view, were Williams hurling his body at the receiver, not breaking down and tackling. NFL receivers are going to be more shifty and slippery than those in NCAA Division II.

While his feet a quick and active, Williams’ hands can be slow at the line of scrimmage. He can lock receivers up but lacks a good second effort in challenging at the line of scrimmage. His press coverage could use work overall. He fits best as an outside corner, and cannot be a liability at that position.

Final word

Is he perfect? No. Does he have the ideal prospect pedigree? No.

Does he have room to grow? Yes. Does he have the attributes you cannot teach? Yes.

Wiliams is a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect. He could be a flash in the pan or one of the best development projects of the Veach era. There is room in between, but Williams’ volatility makes him even more exciting.

Williams may not contribute in his rookie year, but his growth still matters. In 2023, and beyond, Williams has the potential to be a starter in Kansas City. He is raw now, but with this quality coaching staff, they can get Williams where he needs to be.