2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

#8 Garrett Williams/CB, SYRACUSE (R. Junior) — 6033, 229 LBS.

Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Garrett Williams 5110, 192 9 1/4 31 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Has a quick trigger when attacking downhill vs WR screen game
— Does a nice job of getting skinny and using his quickness advantage to evade oncoming blockers in space
— Has nice variance in his approach in press coverage, mixes up leverage pre-snap to confuse receivers
— Transitions well when carrying receivers vertically, quickly works up to full speed efficiently to squeeze receivers into the sideline
— Plays with solid eye-discipline, drives with eyes on receiver, which helps him avoid biting hard on double moves
—Does a nice job of plastering receivers at the top of their routes, imposing physicality and allowing himself room to eye the quarterback and prepare to play the football
— Does a nice job in crack/replace situations, comes to balance before contacting ball carriers
— Has a nice feel for when to use his speed turn, helps him recover if he opens his hips prematurely
— Has solid long speed, allowing him to carry receivers vertically with ease
— Plays the receivers pocket with violent punches, consistently fights pass catchers through the ground and makes them earn every yard
— Does a nice job of punishing receivers post catch with physical pops, setting a tone and allowing little to no room for YAC
— Dynamic athlete with the ball in his hands, 18.8 yards per return on four interceptions at Syracuse
— Has a nice feel in zone coverage, particularly when mid-pointing levels concepts as a flat defender in Cover 2
— Extremely sticky in coverage, nearly always in position to compete at the catch point, where his length allows him to disrupt the pocket
— Has great hands, consistently catches the football away from his body, using his length to keep it away from receivers at the catch point
— Consistently high points the football, both when securing interceptions and when using his off-arm to break up passes

The Bad

— An extremely willing run defender, his aggressiveness can occasionally take him too far inside and cause him to lose contain
— Tends to round his breaks a bit from off-coverage, which will cause him to arrive a half second late to the catch point at times. Needs to work to play more square in his off-coverage reps
— Can get caught playing on his heels at times in press coverage, which can hinder his ability to transition efficiently
—Some inconsistency in terms of ball skills, should be a big area of improvement at the next level
— Suffered an ACL Tear in October, which could drop his draft stock a bit


— 152 tackles 9.5 TFLs 2 sacks 1 FF 1 FR 4 INTs 27 PDs 1 TD
— 2022: 36 tackles 1.5 TFLs 1 sack 1 FF 1 FR 2 INTs 5 PDs
— Led the ACC in pass breakups both in 2021 and 2022
— Three time All-ACC selection (2020, 2021, and 2022)
— Served as a team captain as a Redshirt Junior this past season
— Started seven games at corner in 2022 before suffering a season ending injury vs Notre Dame this past season
— Ran track at Hickory Ridge High School, in addition to playing a prominent role on the football team 

Tape Breakdown

In my four years evaluating the defensive backs ahead of the NFL Draft, this year’s 2023 draft class is a class of its own, both in terms of top end talent and depth. Quietly of the past few seasons, the Syracuse Orange football program has produced a top end pass defense, powered by the talents of a pair of all conference cornerbacks, Duce Chestnut and Garrett Williams.

A three team All-ACC honoree, Garrett Williams served as an underclassmen captain for the Orange this past season, helping hold opposing passers to 164.5 yards per game, producing third best pass defense in the nation before suffering a season ending injury against Notre Dame. A large framed corner, Williams plays with a physical demeanor, both in coverage and in run support, where his maniacal effort in pursuit consistently puts him in position to make impact plays.

Williams does a phenomenal job of trusting his eyes, triggering quickly and evading blockers in open space when tackling check down passes in the open field. On the rep below, Williams keys the quarterback with his eyes in the backfield, diagnosing the split zone bluff action, shuffling downhill to close ground, and slipping the stalk block inside to cut down the tight end behind the line of scrimmage. Williams ability to quickly diagnose the bluff action and trigger immediately allows him to abandon his outside leverage responsibilities and knife inside to make an impact play.

Williams possesses the necessary physicality, tackling technique, and effort in pursuit to thrive as an open field tackler. Working in off-man coverage on the backside X-receiver, Williams takes a great angle, sprinting to close to the near hip and arriving to wrap and roll the ball carrier to the ground well short of the sticks. He is absolutely one of the best open field tacklers I have evaluated at the cornerback position within the past few draft classes.

Defensive backs, particularly in Teryl Austin’s Pittsburgh Steelers defense, are tasked with playing with a takeaway oriented mindset on every snap. On the rep below, Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong bounces a read option run to the edge, where Garrett Williams flies up from his corner spot to force to plant and change direction back inside. Williams violently ejects an oncoming blocker into the ball carrier, knocking the football loose and back into the waiting arms of the Syracuse corner, concluding one of the most impactful individual defensive reps from this past college season.

Garrett Williams has a natural feel in zone coverage, where he does a nice job of gaining depth, playing routes top down, and high pointing the football at the catch point to secure takeaways. Below, working as a deep ⅓ defender in a Cover 3 scheme, Williams is able to gain depth, pass the post route to the safety, and break downhill toward the sideline to intercept the wheel route intended for the tight end.

Once again working in Cover 3, this time, Williams is able to cut the Over route, sinking to become a free player. As the over route occupies both the backside corner and post safety, a Louisville wide receiver finds room behind the defense for what appears to be an easy explosive play touchdown.

Williams however, uses his ability to zone off and sink, diagnosing the threat in the post, keying the quarterback, sinking to high point the football and secure the takeaway. While there is certainly a fair argument to be made that the ball was left too far inside, Garrett Williams IQ, ball skills, and range are on full display here.

In press coverage, Williams does a nice job of mixing up his approach at the line of scrimmage, keeping receivers off balance and dictating their releases. Working in press coverage below, Williams plays from outside leverage, shuffling outside at the snap to maintain his leverage and forcing the receiver to release inside on the fade route.

Once the receiver declares vertical, Williams shows great eye discipline, closing to the near hip, getting back into phase and turning to locate the football, extending his off-arm for a nice pass breakup. His ability to remain calm, use his length, and play the football from out of phase allows him to frustrate receivers, even when they are able to separate off the line.

Speaking of variance in press coverage, Williams here does a nice job of utilizing an off-hand jam here against a Liberty receiver. Working in a press-man assignment in the boundary, Williams gives ground with an inch technique at the snap before engaging the receiver with a well placed off-hand jam, extending his inside arm to force the receiver to widen his release while transitioning and keeping his eyes glued on the receivers hips.

After successfully squeezing the wideout into the sideline, Williams works to get chest to chest, where he is able to use his arm length to play the pocket and break up the back shoulder ball. Textbook press coverage reps like this one against Liberty are littered throughout Williams tape, where his length, patience, and physicality allow him to frustrate receivers and consistently finish reps in phase.

Naturally, Williams aggressive mindedness in his run fits, a mindset which allows him to knife inside and produce tackles for losses, also brings the risk of compromising his gap responsibilities. On the rep below, Williams is aligned at depth with outside leverage, but gets caught knifing inside as the back presses the line of scrimmage.

While the edge is able to tackle the back before he can turn up the edge, the ball carrier would have nowhere to escape, with all gaps filled if Williams had maintained his depth. While disaster doesn’t manifest itself on this rep, the Orange defense is in better shape if Williams is able to play from depth and provide an extra fitter as the back bounces toward the edge.


Overall, I came away a massive fan of Garrett Williams tape, and to be quite frank, I’m a bit surprised there hasn’t been more buzz surrounding his name this draft season. While he is not without his warts, occasionally getting boxed out at the catch point, allowing separation on deep balls from time to time, and allowing his aggressiveness to take him out of his run fits, his competitiveness and effort are consistent on a snap to snap basis. He is consistently in phase to contest the catch point and makes opposing receivers work for every yard of grass, playing through the hands with violence and punishing receivers after the catch to limit YAC opportunities.

In terms of both measurables and play style, Williams reminds me of current Eagles and soon to be free agent corner James Bradberry, who has carved out a nice NFL career across multiple stops. Williams instincts in zone coverage, technical refinement in press coverage, and advanced ball skills to play from in or out of phase at the catch point should make him a solid fit in any system at the next level. Moreover, his consistent effort in pursuit and physicality as a tackler should help him elevate a team’s run defense, closing down lanes for ball carriers to bounce runs to the boundary.

Looking through a Steelers lens, Williams likely could immediately compete for sub-package snaps on the boundary, where Cam Sutton could continue to utilize his positional flexibility in obvious passing downs. Given his takeaway oriented mindset and physical demeanor, Williams could prove to be a great fit for Pittsburgh on day two of this years draft.

Projection: Late Day Two/Early Day Three

Depot Draft Grade: 8.3-Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)

Games Watched: vs Purdue (2022), vs Louisville (2022), vs Virginia (2022), vs Liberty (2021), vs Clemson (2021), at Clemson (2020)

Previous 2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles
OL O’Cyrus Torrence LB Jack Campbell WR Zay Flowers WR Parker Washington
DL Bryan Breese DT Jalen Carter OT Darnell Wright CB Joey Porter Jr.
WR Jordan Addison DL Siaki Ika DL Keeanu Benton CB Kelee Ringo
CB Cam Smith OT Dawand Jones LB Noah Sewell iOL Ulu Oluwatimi
LB Drew Sanders iOL Jarrett Patterson OG Nick Broeker OT Broderick Jones
WR Tank Dell iOL John Michael Schmitz CB Devon Witherspoon OT Paris Johnson Jr
LB Trenton Simpson CB Christian Gonzalez LB Henry To’oTo’o WR Jayden Reed
S Brian Branch DL DJ Dale EDGE Isaiah McGuire S JL Skinner
S Jordan Battle LB Isaiah Foskey LB Ivan Pace QB Anthony Richardson
EDGE Will McDonald OG Andrew Vorhees TE Michael Mayer WR Jalin Hyatt
C Ricky Stromberg CB Terell Smith CB Kyu Blu Kelly LB Dorian Williams
DL Jerrod Clark WR Ronnie Bell CB Emmanuel Forbes LB DeMarvion Overshown
OL Peter Skoronski OL Chandler Zavala WR Rashee Rice DT Gervon Dexter Sr.
CB Anthony Johnson OL Steve Avila LB Daiyan Henley DB Sydney Brown
DE Keion White CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB Julius Brents QB Malik Cunningham
OT Carter Warren DL Lukas Van Ness OL Cody Mauch OT Alex Palczewski
WR Marvin Mims DL Tuli Tuipulotu WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba RB Israel Abanikanda
DL Mazi Smith DL Calijiah Kancey WR Josh Downs LB Owen Pappoe
EDGE Truman Jones LB Jeremy Banks WR Puka Nacua CB Rejzohn Wright
TE Darnell Washington DL P.J. Mustipher DL Zachh Pickens EDGE BJ Ojulari
OL Matthew Bergeron EDGE Ali Gaye EDGE Nolan Smith DL Keondre Coburn
OG Emil Ekiyor Jr. ILB Mariano Sori-Martin CB Jaylon Jones OT Jaelyn Duncan
WR Rakim Jarrett EDGE Will Anderson DT Jaquelin Roy RB Tyjae Spears
CB Clark Phillips DL Colby Wooden WR Jonathan Mingo EDGE Viliami Fehoko
WR Jadon Haselwood EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah CB Darius Rush LB Mohamoud Diabate











To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!