If you were ever under the impression that LSU stopped being DBU at some point, I have some bad news for you.
Not only has LSU been DBU for over a decade, it looks they will continue to dominate in 2018 after the breakout freshman seasons of both safety Grant Delpit and lockdown cornerback Andraez Williams.
It will not be easy to throw the ball against Tigers in 2018 with those two sharks swimming in the deep water.
Williams, affectionately known as “Greedy,” has a chance to prove himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the country in 2018—and potentially vault into the Top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
He’s the next man up in a long line of elite pro cornerback prospects at LSU.
Whether he’s in press man-to-man or off-coverage, he can adapt his play style to suit all of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s needs.
After a remarkable 2017 season in which he finished with six interceptions and 10 pass breakups, Greedy made the All-SEC team.
His advanced stats paint an even better picture via Pro Football Focus: Of the 236 cornerbacks who played at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps last season, Greedy finished first in passer rating allowed. He only allowed 25 catches on 64 targets.
When you watch the film, you see a supremely confident cornerback.
He has no problems pressing up against receivers who are bigger than him and whether the ball is thrown to his guy or not, you rarely see him out of position. His interception against Texas A&M shows the great technique he plays with plus his ability to read plays.
He starts by mirroring the release of the receiver. Previously, Texas A&M tried to run go routes on Williams, but he stays patient and then when the receiver breaks back inside for the slant he uses his inside arm to stop the receivers momentum and look for the ball.
Then he just runs the slant route instead of the receiver. A great play.
It wasn’t often, but when Williams was in off-coverage (usually after the offense motioned a receiver to his side) he was just as good. He picked off Chattanooga after jumping a quick out route and here against Syracuse, on the opening play of the game, he steps in front of a quick sit route and takes it to the house.
With Aranda pressing his corners quite a bit, offenses tried to throw over the top of Williams on fade and go routes. The whole SEC tried and failed. The way he’s able to stay with the receiver, turn his head, locate the ball and get his hands on it is excellent.
Against BYU, Tanner Mangum tried to hit the fade route against Greedy. You can see Williams stay stride for stride for the receiver which affords the cornerback the ability to get his head around and locate the ball.
He loses the receiver for a moment while doing so, which is normal, but manages to reestablish position and squeeze the receiver into the boundary before going up and getting the ball.
There was really nothing that Greedy couldn’t do last season. The way he played on tape backed up his gaudy statistics.
You’d imagine teams will shy away from throwing at him in 2018. One of the questions will be if Dave Aranda moves him around to match-up against the opponent’s best receiver. He played predominantly on the left side of the defense last year. Without Kevin Toliver, a veteran, platooning the opposite cornerback spot this may be what LSU decides to do.
LSU fans need to cherish Greedy while he’s in Baton Rouge. Even at a program that seems to turn out first round defensive backs on a regular basis, No. 29 is special.
Andraez “Greedy” Williams has carried on the legacy of LSU breeding defensive backs. He’s the next in line of a long list of successful prospects to don the purple and gold. Many ask if his real name is actually Greedy. It is not. The nickname was given to him by his aunt. When he was a child, she gave it to him because when she babysat him she used to prepare bunches of milk for him, but he would always drink more than she had prepared. Thus, the nickname Greedy was given to him. Williams now loves the name because it goes perfectly with the position that he plays on the field.
Already given one of the best names in college football, his road to being the big man on campus was far from given though. LSU is known as a five-star hotbed for Louisiana prospects. Williams was not that coming out of Calvary Academy in Shreveport. At the time, he was a slender 6-foot-1, 155 pound three-star recruit, not the headliner amongst the 2016 signing class.
Upside was the word that kept being associated with him after signing his national letter of intent. That’s exactly what the Tigers coaching staff had in mind upon Williams’ arrival to Baton Rouge. He redshirted during his first year. Williams was clearly disappointed because he wanted to be like most recruits and make an instant impact early on.
Entering the 2017 season, the now redshirt-freshman was battling for playing time. He was finally beginning to show that upside that he was tagged with following signing day. Williams ended up starting all 13 games. He finished tied for the SEC lead in interceptions with six and was named a First Team All-SEC selection. In only his second season on the field, the talented LSU corner entered 2018 with monumental expectations and he has lived up to every bit of the hype.
Since he locked down his starting spot last season, he has not surrendered it. Starting 25 consecutive games, Williams has now positioned himself to be the next great member from “DBU”, which is considered an illustrious group of Tiger defensive backs.
Awareness – One of the more encouraging traits about the standout corner is his ability to transition from phase to find the ball in the air and make a play on it. Often times with cornerback prospects in man coverage they are taught to play the arms of the receiver instead of turning their head around and locating the ball. When receivers put their arms in the air in an attempt to catch the ball, corners will swat at them after the ball is already within their reach. The difficult part about that is the timing, which leads to many penalties. This is not the case with Williams. He has the innate ability and speed to remain hip-to-hip in phase, all while seeking the ball.
Length – Being that the NFL has quickly navigated to being such a pass-happy league, teams are now looking for defensive backs that possess length. Length causes disruption for not only receivers at the line of scrimmage, but it also minimize the already small margin of error for quarterbacks’ throwing windows. At 6-foot-2, Williams has the necessary measurables to give perimeter options fits in bump-and-run coverage.
Technique / Patience – When evaluating man-to-man corners, it is interesting to see the differences in techniques taught throughout the country. LSU’s reputation and previous pipeline of players at the position speaks for itself. Williams hips and patience are what stands out. Even though receivers make a lot of movements at the line while trying to generate releases, he remains patient with his eyes always on their chest. Keeping his eyes located there allows him to stare at a still target before timing when to initiate contact with his hands or mirroring with his hips.
Ball Skills – Ball production is a stat that will always matter. Some pay attention to it more than others, but it is an added incentive for prospects that have had success with it in their careers. Williams tied for the SEC lead in interceptions (six) in 2017, but his production in that area has slipped to just two in 2018. There’s multiple reasons for the decline, but many teams haven’t been as reluctant to throw into Williams’ coverage because of the respect for him or simply because of the tight coverage on his assignment.
Handsy / Separation Allowed at the Top of Routes – As with most press-man corners, the biggest issue usually lies within their physicality. They are taught many techniques and target areas with their hands. As a result of it, they can become sloppy. This is evident with Williams, as he’s extremely aggressive and competitive. Many times, teams are able to use that against him. He’s a frequent victim to double moves and receivers that are advanced route-runners. Williams is caught hanging onto targets, usually resulting in holding penalties. This issue is correctable, but it may be something that plagues him early on during his career. He tends to use it as a last resort and it’s a panicky habit that he will need to grow out of.
Weight – It’s not hard to notice. Williams has a rail-thin frame and it will be one that he needs to put weight on. With the physical nature of receivers at the next level and with him being so competitive at the line of scrimmage, it would not be surprising to see him struggle some because of his lack of strength and muscle mass throughout his body.
Run Support – A huge concern is his effort in run support. He’s not afraid to tackle, but at times he’s unwilling to do it. His tackling success is inconsistent. Williams is a bit of an “ankle biter” in that he dives at the ankles of ball carriers. In order to become a complete player like many believe he eventually can, he will need to learn how to come up and be somewhat of a threat and a more consistent tackler. Otherwise, teams will frequently target him with certain schemes.