The Cleveland Browns were so excited, after trading away their first-round pick, to see LSU cornerback Greedy Williams slide in the draft that they actually made a trade up in the second round to ensure that they would get the man they were after—much to the chagrin of the Layne household.
Believing that he could be the corner pairing along with 2018 fourth-overall pick and Pro Bowler Denzel Ward, the team immediately thrust him into the starting lineup from the start of OTAs, where he has remained since. It wasn’t all gravy from the get-go, however, which should not be surprising, but things have steadily improved over the weeks.
The Browns are already in their break heading into training camp, but Williams got the chance to close out minicamp a week ago with a pick six of Baker Mayfield. The cornerback regarded by many as being the best pure cover player in the draft was able to pick off a handful of passes throughout the spring drills.
But not before taking his lumps. In fact, he had a real trial by fire, getting burned deep multiple times on the first practice with the veterans. “You get in there and get bombed on a couple times, like my first day of OTAs, it was bad”, he told reporters last week. “I was questioning myself, ‘am I fit for this?’. But as you get going, you get comfortable, you get your confidence back up under you and everything will play out well”.
Things turned around as he got more reps, and he was able to leave minicamp feeling pretty good about the progress he made, though perhaps it’s worth pointing out that the offense has had more kinks to work out, with Odell Beckham, Jr. skipping OTAs and Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway spending time sidelined with injuries.
That likely helped to contribute to his ability to get himself between the ball and the receiver a few times over the past few weeks, but no matter the reason, he was making the jumps and catching the balls.
“It is definitely a confidence booster” to get a pick six, he said. “Just with that mindset, what your mind tells you, that is what you are going to go do. Just having fun with the game, my confidence and my comfort. Well-equipped and I am ready to rock and roll”.
In addition to Ward and Williams, the Browns’ starting secondary projects to feature Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett at safety, and likely veteran T.J. Carrie in the slot. None of those players were with the team in 2017 when they went 0-16, so they don’t carry that baggage.