Impressive as UDFA a year ago, can Williams find 53-man roster spot?
Former UAlbany cornerback Jarren Williams signed with the new York Giants early in training camp last season, was impressive enough to make the practice squad, then appeared in two regular-season games on special teams.
Can Williams build on that surprising success in 2021, or will his brief time on the Giants’ roster be an NFL cameo?
Let’s take a closer look as we near the end of our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
Contract: Year 2 of two-year, $1.4925 million contract | Guaranteed: $7,500 | 2021 cap hit: $828,750
Career to date
Williams got the Giants’ attention during training camp in 2020.
“He’s one of those guys that has shown some ability. Like you, I didn’t know a lot about him coming into this,” defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said in late August. “He showed up and I was like, ‘Well, we may have something here.’ He’s competing hard, he has good athleticism, he has good size. He has a chance to develop hopefully into something and we’ll see where it goes. But he’s done a good job of at least grabbing people’s attention.”
Head coach Joe Judge also took notice.
“He’s a guy who takes coaching points from the classroom to the field. He’s very receptive, he plays with a good demeanor,” Judge said. “He’s got a good body frame on him. He’s almost built a little bit more like a safety at times than a corner. He factors into different positions in the kicking game for you. I like the way he comes out every day. [Defensive backs coach] Jerome [Henderson] gets on him pretty hard. He responds the right way and he’s shown improvement.”
Williams made the practice squad. He played 17 special teams snaps for the Giants over two games during the second half of the season.
As I have said with other fringe players, what he did last season does not guarantee Williams anything this season.
Can he build on what he showed as a rookie?
James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes and Aaron Robinson are likely locks to make the roster. Isaac Yiadom and Madre Harper are probably next in line. Joshua Kalu, Chris Milton and Sam Beal have NFL experience. Rodarius Williams is a rookie draft pick.
There is a lot more competition for Williams to deal with this time. Best guess is he lands on the practice squad again.