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New York Giants Training Camp Preview: DB Jarren Williams – Sports Illustrated

If nothing else, New York Giants defensive back Jarren Williams is determined to make it in the NFL, even if it means starting from scratch.
Williams, who played his college ball at the University of New York at Albany, the former summer home of the Giants, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cardinals following the 2020 draft. Due to the pandemic, which forced NFL teams to trim their rosters from 90 men down to 80 before the start of training camp, Williams never made it to training camp with the Cardinals.
No matter as about a week after Arizona cut him, Wiliams landed on his feet with the Giants, who signed him on August 2. Although he didn't make the 53-man roster out of the chute, Williams showed enough intrigue and promise to earn a spot on the team's practice squad and got better each week, receiving a standard elevation late in the season (Weeks 14 and 15) when the Giants were short-handed at cornerback.
Things don't get any easier for the Giants following their Week 5 trip to London, as they'll host a very tough Ravens team in Week 6.
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The Giants' RB1 and RB2 spots seem set. And Antonio Williams is looking to make his case for the RB3 spot.
His second stint with the Giants was a little bumpier. He landed on injured reserve and was waived on August 21 but returned to the practice squad in late September. He was elevated to the 53-man roster, twice as a standard elevation due to an injury suffered by Adoree' Jackson, and once as a COVID-19 replacement before finally being promoted to the 53-man roster full time on December 20.
For his third stint with the Giants, Williams is undertaking a position switch, moving inside to safety and still as determined as ever to make it in the NFL.
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK
What's interesting about Williams' transition to safety is that the prior coaching staff was set to make that move before being dismissed.
Worth noting is that defensive backs coach Jermone Henderson, who was on that staff, was retained, so we can probably assume that it was Henderson's idea to work on helping Williams transition to safety. Regardless, here we are, and while we can only gauge off of the snaps Williams played at cornerback, there are some signs to suggest he might be successful at making the move.
The first one is awareness and discipline. Safeties cannot allow themselves to be fooled easily, and they must also have an understanding of angles. Williams, who played 46 of his 194 NFL defensive snaps in the slot, apparently understands this and doesn't let himself get badly fooled too often.
Williams has the functional speed to close down on receivers–he allowed a 47.1 percent catch rate on 17 targets with one touchdown allowed and two passes defended at cornerback. He also showed himself capable of playing a physical game in man-to-man coverage despite standing 5-foot-11 and weighing in at 190 pounds.
Williams is signed to a one-year reserve/futures contract worth $825,000. The deal has no signing bonus or dead money and counts for 0.4 percent of the Giants' 2022 cap.
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The Giants are thin at the safety spot, which isn't necessarily good news for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who likes to move his safeties at the snap. Williams, who worked at safety in the spring, is in the early stages of his transition.
Thus, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that he needs another year on the practice squad where he can continue his development, nor would it be crazy to think that if he does land on the practice squad, he gets elevated when there is a shortage at defensive back. 
Patricia Traina has covered the New York Giants for 30+ seasons. She is the host of the LockedOn Giants podcast and the author of “The Big 50: New York Giants: The Men and Moments that Made the New York Giants” (Triumph Books). 


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