Patriots select Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams with 45th overall pick in 2019 NFL Draft

Joejuan Williams #8 of the Vanderbilt Commodores carries an Anchor Down flag after a 38-13 Vanderbilt victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at Vanderbilt Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Joejuan Williams #8 of the Vanderbilt Commodores carries an Anchor Down flag after a 38-13 Vanderbilt victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at Vanderbilt Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

From the NFL Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com

The Patriots have selected Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams with the 45th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. They traded picks 56 and 101 to the Los Angeles Rams in order to move up to No. 41 to take Williams.

What stands out the most about Williams is his size and length. He stands at 6-foot-4 with 32 1/2-inch arms and projects as a physical press corner to match up against big receivers. The knocks on him that made him a day 2 pick involve a lack of polish with his techniques in downfield coverage.

Williams may be in the best possible place to patiently hone his skills. The Patriots are deep at the cornerback position, perhaps more than any other. Williams will park behind Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, and Keion Crossen to start his NFL career.

The now-former Vanderbilt CB faced legitimate competition in college against Eastern division SEC opponents like Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. In 2018 as a junior, he earned AP Second Team All-SEC honors and was named to the Coaches Second Team All-SEC as a DB. Williams was also a good student at Vanderbilt, making the honor roll in 2017 and 2018.

With a chance to develop behind a talented, deep veteran secondary and Bill Belichick coaching him up, Williams is set up for success to start his Patriots career. It's unclear how much he'll contribute in 2019, but what is clear is the Patriots' interest in drafting him. Belichick also traded up in the past to get Patriots cornerstones like Rob Gronkowski and Dont'a Hightower.

Williams has the physical tools to reach a Richard Sherman kind of level as a big press corner. The key is staying healthy and developing the right way as a rookie.

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