High School and College Career
Garrett Williams from Hickory Ridge High School and was rated as a 3-star prospect prior to joining Syracuse. In his freshman year, he quickly made an impact, playing in 11 games and accumulating a total of 877 snaps as a cornerback for the Orange. Williams proved his worth, recording 53 tackles, 7 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and an impressive QB rating when targetted of 96.2.
In Williams’ sophomore year, he continued to impress, playing in 10 games and logging 541 snaps for the Orange. He finished with 41 tackles 6 pass breakups, and lowered opponents’ QB rating when targetted to 113.1.
During his junior year in 2022, Williams played in 7 games, contributing on 285 snaps. He had 27 tackles, and two interceptions. Williams also demonstrated his ability to neutralize opposing quarterbacks, giving up a QB rating when targetted of 84.1.
Garrett Williams Scouting Report Introduction
Garrett Williams is a name known to those who follow college football, having earned plenty of accolades during his time at Syracuse. After a successful high school career in multiple sports, Williams transitioned to football and track with immediate impact. In 2020, he earned recognition as a Freshman All-American, and in 2021 he was selected as an All-ACC player. Unfortunately, his promising 2022 season was cut short by an injury to his ACL, which ended his campaign after just seven games.
Analyzing his playing style, it’s clear that Williams is a physical and aggressive defender, exhibiting an alpha mentality on the field. He tackles with a sense of purpose and finishes his tackles with authority. His mindset and skillset make him an asset in run support, able to identify ball carriers and make them pay for every yard gained. Alongside his physicality, Williams displays impressive movement skills and reactive athleticism. He has good short-area quickness, speed, and change of direction skills, enabling him to react to events on the field and make a positive impact.
Williams’ ability to cue the backfield and trigger is showcased when playing in zone coverage, although he doesn’t get enough opportunities to play press coverage. His disruptive presence during the catch phase, combined with his ability to play through receivers’ hands, means he can force incompletions and even take away the ball. However, he could benefit from more opportunities to get takeaways and improve his ability to locate the football downfield.
While Williams’ aggressive approach often leads to positive outcomes, there are instances where it causes him to lose balance and arrive at the ball carrier in a compromised position. He’ll need to improve his technique and ensure he arrives with enough balance and control to follow through on his tackles. Additionally, despite his disruptive play at the catch point, Williams’ ability to locate the football downfield is hit and miss. The Purdue game in 2022 exposed some weak spots in his game, particularly his eye discipline when carrying vertical routes. He may lack the long speed to keep up with the very fastest of receivers downfield.
As Williams recovers from his ACL injury, his future team will need to be mindful of that caveat during their evaluation of him. He’s likely to start his rookie season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, making his athlete profile even more incomplete. However, Williams has the potential to be a starter with a high ceiling, provided he lands with a team that plays to his strengths.
Garrett Williams can track the ball downfield and get his head around, allowing him to maintain visibility of the ball while keeping pace with his opponent. In addition to this, Williams also displays excellent ball skills when breaking on a route. This means that he can anticipate where the ball will go and use his explosive speed to reach it in time, giving him a significant advantage over other players.
Williams is also a plus tackler in run support, meaning that he has a talent for stopping opponents in their tracks and preventing them from making gains on the field. He also shows the outstanding explosion and decent long speed, allowing him to quickly close the gap between himself and his opponent. His length and leaping ability are also noteworthy, enabling him to high-point the ball and make plays that other players might not be able to.
One of Williams’ key strengths is his loose hips, which enable him to transition from out of his backpedal fluidly. This means that he can react quickly to changes on the field and adjust his movements accordingly, keeping him ahead of the game at all times. Williams also has the ability to cover quickness underneath, making him a versatile player who can adapt to changing situations on the field. His ball skills are tremendous, with good hands and the potential to take it to the house any time he gets his hands on the ball. This makes him a serious threat to opposing teams and a valuable asset to his own.
He’s an above average tackler and can help out in run defense. He reads and reacts instinctively to the QB moves and is not one prone to getting caught biting on fake or doubel move. Additionally, he is a very quick and very confident cover corner who plays bigger than his listed size when lined up in press coverage. He delivers quick, surprisingly powerful punches and uses his natural quickness and change-of-direction ability to mirror on underneath routes, making him a tough opponent to beat.
One of the first concerns about Williams is related to his backpedal, which is considered high, and his apparent difficulty in transitioning from backpedaling to forward movement. This can be a significant weakness, especially when it comes to handling fast and explosive players in the NFL. Even though Williams is able to play at an adequate speed, defensive backs need quickness to react quickly and change direction on a dime. This could be overcome through excellent footwork and technique. Williams’ performance in the 2022 season was also a point of consideration, since he suffered an ACL tear that may impact his abilities in the future.
Finally, there are some physical attributes of Williams that may be a concern for scouts and coaches. Neither his size nor his straight-line speed are considered elite, which may make it difficult for him to keep up with more talented players in the league. His recent ACL injury may also negatively impact his abilities, further reducing his speed and agility.
Garrett Williams is the 173rd prospect on our draft big board.