Five Things to Know About Marcus Williams

New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams, left, covers Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee (11) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Marcus Williams loves watching game tape, which should form an instant bond with Chuck Clark.

Williams and Clark are the new starting safety combo for the Ravens and they should bond quickly. Both are serious about their craft and love watching game tape. Williams was known for studying film as much as two hours per day during his college days at Utah. During meetings when his teammates' concentration waned, Williams was often the guy who got everyone to refocus. Intense preparation is a trait he shares with Clark, who watched tape of rookie minicamp last year so he could learn more about his new teammates. Williams' anticipation in pass coverage comes from knowledge he gains before he steps on the field.

Supreme athleticism is one key to Williams' game.

With 15 career interceptions, Williams has sure hands, which separates him from many defensive backs. His 43-inch vertical leap enhances his ability to create turnovers and break up passes. He can simply outleap receivers when vying for contested catches, and he uses his body control and experience as a high school wide receiver to high-point the ball effectively.

Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah wasn't sure he wanted to recruit Williams until he saw him dunk on three people playing high school basketball in Corona, Calif. Teammates in college learned that playing basketball against Williams could become embarrassing because the danger of being dunked on was always lurking.

The Utah connection runs dep.

Baltimore backup quarterback Tyler Huntley and Williams spent the 2016 season together at Utah and will be reunited with the Ravens. Players from Utah have been good to Baltimore. Former Ravens safety Eric Weddle went to Utah and helped counsel Williams, including on the culture in Baltimore. Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is another Utah product. Smith was an undersized receiver who many doubted when he entered the NFL, while Huntley went undrafted in 2020. Williams is another former Utah player who doesn't take his NFL career for granted despite being a second-round pick in 2017. Williams entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder and says that attitude gives him an edge.

Durability has been a trademark of Williams' career.

Williams only missed five games in five seasons with the Saints, playing more defensive snaps than anyone on the team during that period. Part of Williams' good fortune was a result of his intense training. There's no offseason for Williams, who habitually keeps himself in tiptop shape year round.

Williams' range will add a different dimension to Baltimore's defense.

When he was at Michigan, new Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald loved using safety Dax Hill like a Swiss Army knife, lining him up in different positions to mix coverages and confuse quarterbacks. Macdonald can do the same with Williams, who is effective as a run defender in addition to his ball skills. Williams is coming off a career-high 74 tackles last season, and few NFL safeties have better range as a pass defender. Opposing quarterbacks often underestimate how much ground Williams can cover, which will help Baltimore's pass defense.

Related Content