Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bills' Williams latest corner to make move to safety


Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix said during the team's pre-draft press conference Tuesday that "you can't have enough" corners on a roster.

Having consistent ones certainly helps, though. (photo: Jeffrey Beall, Flickr)

So in what should be no surprise to anyone who paid any attention to Bills cornerback Aaron Williams last year, Nix announced that his coaches have decided to move Williams to safety this year.

Williams' output at the position has been scrutinized since his arrival to the team in 2011, and for good reason. Tim Graham of the Buffalo News pointed out Tuesday that quarterbacks held a 120.4 quarterback rating when throwing in Williams's direction last season and 120 the year before, according to Pro Football Focus. Williams has also allowed 10 total touchdowns in two seasons with the team.

But while he hasn't impressed much as a corner, he may in fact turn out to be a solid safety. The former Longhorn's weaknesses have been his straight-line speed and his ability to come down with a football, but he has shown promise in coverage and in his physicality.

Such was a very similar case in New England with Patriots cornerback-turned-safety Devin McCourty. McCourty's move to centerfield drastically increased his production in the defensive backfield, as well as the team's overall play.

New England had the wherewithal to bring in cornerback Aqib Talib to aid in McCourty's transition, while Buffalo will be relying on Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin to hold down the starting roles, barring their drafting a corner.

Williams told Chris Brown of Tuesday that although he doesn't much care where defensive coordinator Mike Pettine puts him, playing safety has been working out so far.

"I had a pick and a fumble recovery, so it was a good starting off point,” Williams said of his first day of voluntary workouts. “Wherever coach wants me to play I’m going to play. It’s not that I don’t like it or I do like it, it’s about coach putting me in the best position for the team.”

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