Rodarius Williams found his way onto the Giants during the sixth round of this year’s draft. What could his role be if he makes the team?
Some initially believed the Giants could’ve acquired a No. 2 cornerback with their top draft pick.
James Bradberry experienced a 2020 Pro Bowl campaign and Darnay Holmes proved to be a promising slot corner in his inaugural NFL season last year. That second outside corner role, however, didn’t see much consistency. Corey Ballentine, Isaac Yiadom, and Ryan Lewis all earned starts there, and the on-field struggles at the specific position led to the Giants allowing 237.9 passing yards per game even with Bradberry on the field.
Nonetheless, chances of a first-round corner heading to East Rutherford became very thin following the signing of Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year deal. Depth in the defensive backfield is crucial though, which is why the Giants still picked up Oklahoma State corner Rodarius Williams in the sixth round.
Could Williams be a reliable extra body that coordinator Patrick Graham could use if injuries arise? What may the rookie’s role be in the event he makes the final roster?
Depth, depth, and more depth
As we previously mentioned (and as we’ve mentioned on a number of occasions when addressing the Giants secondary), depth is important in this area of the field — arguably more important than in any other area.
A productive and successful secondary needs bodies — guys a team can shuffle in to perform in different on-field scenarios.
Williams is set to provide that for Graham’s secondary, but that’s really it (as far as the defensive side of the ball is concerned).
He doesn’t possess even a decent chance at starting for this team right now — the Giants have made too significant of investments in both Bradberry and Jackson while Holmes could be the concrete answer at the nickel corner spot. Big Blue is also high on safeties Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, and Xavier McKinney, the latter of whom is looking to undergo a phenomenal 2021 campaign after injuries greatly affected his rookie season.
To ease him into the first pro-level system he’ll ever be working with, the Giants could possibly utilize Williams as a reserve slot corner, which would make sense due to his physicality. During his four years at Oklahoma State, Rodarius experienced seasons in which he recorded 44, 49, and 58 total tackles (2017-19, respectively).
Special teams would additionally be a significant component of Rodarius’ first-year responsibilities. If he makes the final roster past training camp and the preseason, expect Williams to locate notable reps in this facet.
His competition in the secondary
Williams won’t be the lone potential depth piece in what’s now become, at least on paper, a solid Giants defensive backfield.
Rodarius will have a number of expected reserves he’ll be competing with for playing time, such as Sam Beal, 2021 third-rounder Aaron Robinson, Madre Harper, Isaac Yiadom, and Julian Love.
This could be Beal’s final chance after he played just six games in three years (which included a 2020 opt-out) and recently pled guilty to gun-related charges.
Love has been more of a safety but there’s a chance the coaching staff may locate reps for him at either slot corner or on the outside. Love was mainly a corner when he was a consensus All-American for Notre Dame in 2018.
As for Robinson, it’ll be tough for Williams to surpass the third-rounder on the depth chart given the Giants traded up to draft him back in April.
Thus, whether Williams is competing at nickel corner (like we mentioned earlier) or for a role on the outside, expect him to slot in as the fifth or sixth cornerback on the roster. This could definitely lead to him making the team but by no means will it lead to him earning a superb number of defensive reps in his first season.