The Eagles addressed cornerback in free agency with the addition of Nolan Carroll, but are they happy with their current depth? With Carroll to go along with Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams and Brandon Boykin, the top four player seem to be solid not spectacular. That works in the NFL, but the Eagles could use youth to develop behind those players.
It is possible that only Carroll and Boykin remain in 2015, so the Eagles need to add potential starters to develop. If the Eagles decide to keep six cornerbacks, they could double dip in the draft. North Dakota State's Marcus Williams could be a late round steal for Philadelphia.
A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Williams committed to North Dakota State in 2009. He redshirted as a freshman but played in 14 games (12 starts) at cornerback in his first year of action. He named an honorable mention All-MVFC and collected 47 tackles (one for loss) and four interceptions, while also returning seven kickoffs for 151 yards. His sophomore season featured 15 games (started all) in which he nabbed 53 tackles (one for loss), seven interceptions and 15 pass breakups. He won the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back of the Year for his performance.
Williams started all 14 games as a junior and continued to be productive. He had 39 tackles, seven interceptions and 11 pass breakups as a junior and was named the MVFC Defensive Player of the Year. He started all 13 games he appeared in as a senior but missed the final two games with an injury. He was given several honors after producing 31 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups. Williams owns the school record for career interceptions with 21 picks and he was credited with at least one pass breakup in 41 games.
He was invited to the East-West Shrine Game.
Pro Day Numbers
(Williams was not invited to the Combine)
Weight: 196 lbs
40: 4.57 seconds
Bench: 15 reps
3 Cone: 7.18 seconds
Shuttle: 4.27 seconds
Williams was ridiculously productive at North Dakota State. He has an eye for the ball and was an absolute ballhawk. He was also productive on kick returns. He is very good at mirroring wide receivers in coverage and knows how to be physical without drawing flags. He has solid instincts and can play press or off-man coverage. He is the type of cornerback that may give up a catch but will not give up much YAC (similar to Cary Williams). Williams is a nasty hitter when given the chance. He also plays the ball in the air with patience and confidence.
Williams does not backpedal and likely was not coached on it. The technique is almost mandatory at the NFL level and he will need serious coaching on that aspect. He dominated small school talent, where he was clearly the most talented defensive player in the conference. He tends to sometimes forget about the ball in coverage and fails to turn around to avoid flags or produce another interception. He has average to mediocre speed and fails to catch up at times if he's beat on a long ball. He will bite on fakes at times.
The Eagles do have a need for depth when it comes to cornerback. Williams' lack of pedigree and speed may see him slip to the seventh round in a deep class at the position and he could potentially fall out of the draft in general. The Eagles may be intrigued by his production and experience and take a flier on him in the seventh round or as a possible undrafted free agent. He is a low risk player with upside that will likely fall through the cracks on draft weekend.