PJ Williams’ versatility within defense continues to shine

PJ Williams and the Saints defense celebrate after a big stop in the NFC Championship game.
PJ Williams and the Saints defense celebrate after a big stop in the NFC Championship game.(Paul Spinelli | Mark Lagrange)
Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT
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After his first two seasons in New Orleans, where he only managed to get on the field for two games due to season-ending injuries, P.J. Williams career faced some doubt.

But instead of folding, he’s been trending upward ever since. Williams especially started to set himself apart in 2018 with more of a physical presence around the line of scrimmage as a nickel corner. And then in 2019, his versatility became one of his most valuable traits as well. With injuries stacking up late in the season, Williams added the safety position to his resume.

“I can process things pretty fast, just being smart and knowing the game,” says Williams. “Also, my body type, being physical and a bigger corner, it’s an easier transition to being a safety and being able to tackle and play physical and stuff like that.”

Williams says he finds himself more locked in to learning when taking on a new position. But what also helps is the addition of veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins, who knows the ins and outs of the job as well as anyone.

“The leadership he brings, and also just the knowledge, I’ve been learning a lot from him in the few weeks that we’ve been together,” says Williams. “Just picking his brain, with him playing as long as he’s played, I feel like all of us are learning a little bit from him.”

But Williams isn’t the only Saints defensive back that can play multiple roles. In his second season, C.J. Gardner-Johnson continues to build on his impressive rookie campaign.

“He does a great job of (not just) playing fast, but learning the defense and learning and learning what the offense is giving you,” says Williams. “That definitely helped him take his game to the next level.”

All of this just gives the Saints more options should injury happen, not to mention the ability to give an opposing offense many different looks. And especially during the 2020 season, with so much unknown during a pandemic, depth and versatility are welcomed characteristics.

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