Safe pick: Minnesota CB Chris Williamson a popular prospect among teams
Looking for safe picks on Day 3 is a lesson in futility. To wit, the number of players drafted in Round 1 who went on to earn at least one Pro Bowl appearance between 1999 to 2019 (170) is almost equal to all other rounds combined (176).
In other words, those perceived fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round “steals” aren’t steals at all – they’re often players who don’t make it past their first contract.
At 6-feet, 205 pounds, Williamson didn’t put up gaudy numbers at Minnesota after transferring from Florida, where he played in 14 games as a reserve freshman and sophomore.
Still, he made several analysts’ pre-season watch lists, had good performances during the East-West Shrine Bowl practices and the game, and was generally considered a snub when he didn’t receive a Combine invitation.
My highest grades that were NOT invited to Scouting Combine..
G Kevin Dotson – Louisiana
DB Chris Williamson – Minnesota
TE Giovanni Ricci – Western Mich
WR Isaiah Wright – Temple
EDGE Bryce Huff – Memphis
S Nigel Warrior – Tenn
TE Ben Ellefson – ND State
DT Bravion Roy – Baylor
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 5, 2020
Despite the lack of media buzz surrounding Williamson, several teams see moldable traits.
It starts with his versatility. Williamson spent most of his time as Minnesota’s slot corner last season, and although he struggled at times with missed tackles and a lack of forced incompletions, he was also one of the best in the country at allowing the fewest yards per catch, according to Pro Football Focus.
His ability to play the slot also puts him in rare company in the 2020 NFL draft, as most of the top cornerback prospects played on the outside. Williamson also has the size to play a hybrid linebacker position, plus he offers special teams value.
Although he’s unlikely to hear his name called before Round 5 – if he’s drafted at all – it’s easy to see Williamson making a final roster due to his size and versatility. And that’s about as much as you could hope for out of a late-round prospect, making him a relatively “safe” pick for Day 3 or priority free agency.
Jake Rigdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.