Cornerback Tramon Williams could find himself in a role similar to the one Charles Woodson played during his final years with the Green Bay Packers.
The expectations laid out for Green Bay Packers corner Tramon Williams are not just those of a veteran mentor. The 49.2 catch percentage he allowed in 2017 proved he is still a productive playmaker. After three years away from the organization, the 35-year-old is back where he started his career in hopes of a strong finish. His legs aren’t the same as they once were, but Williams proved last season that old age does not diminish a Pro-Bowler’s instincts.
Williams lined up all over the field as an Arizona Cardinals- spending time at safety, in the slot and as a boundary corner on his way to being graded as the ninth overall corner according to Pro Football Focus. He’s had the luxury of staying extremely healthy through his 11 NFL seasons, but father time will only allow his continued success for a short while longer. In the meantime, Green Bay’s coaching staff should look to utilize Williams’ wide skillset in 2018.
Much like former Packer Charles Woodson, Williams may find himself playing a hybrid role during his second stint with the team. Woodson was able to prolong his productivity by playing off the ball and having the ability to roam the field. Corner may lack the most proven talent, but safety is where Williams could see a lot of time in order to make big plays.
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Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is familiar with Williams’ play style having coached him in Cleveland for one season (2015). Pettine has stated he expects his defense to be multiple fronts and a dynamic defense needs versatility.
Williams first experimented at safety in Cleveland after injuries struck a lean secondary. He welcomed the transition if it meant maximizing his playmaking abilities.
“I am open to anything. I just want to be around the ball,” Williams said during the 2016 season. “I like getting around the ball. I think I could be an asset at it. We will see in the future.”
History is known for repeating itself and Williams should expect no different. Josh Jones is slated to be starting opposite of HaHa Clinton-Dix as the Packers strong safety.
Jones had his share of growing pains dropping into coverage last year, however, he saw a lot of success defending the run when lining up close to the line of scrimmage. If Jones proves to be more comfortable playing in the box, it may force Williams to drop to the back end.
Williams spending time at safety would also depend on Green Bay finding a reliable option opposite of Kevin King. General manager Brian Gutekunst used his first two draft picks on corners in hopes of securing the position for the future.
The Packers signed Williams to a two-year deal but if last season is any indication he still has plenty of football left in him. Although, he may have to get used to playing outside of his original position.
“I played with some great safeties. It is funny. I played my first game at safety, and Charles is one of my good friends and Nick Collins is one of my good friends,” Williams said.
Having two former Pro-Bowlers as a lifeline never hurts.
We can expect to see Williams play a lot of corner next season, but his flexibility meshes with Pettine’s philosophy. Don’t be surprised if he resumes Woodson’s role as an interchangeable chest piece on Green Bay’s defense.