ICYMI: Projecting Shawn Williams as Bengals' Starting Strong Safety

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May 10, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals third round draft pick safety Shawn Williams (40) listens to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, right, during the Bengals rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have high expectations for former Georgia Bulldog Shawn Williams. He’ already being projected to be the opening-day starting strong safety, and he may end up getting the most playing time this year of any Bengals rookie, despite being the fourth player the team drafted.

Williams was one of them ore physical safeties in college football over the past two seasons in which he registered 170 tackles (10.5 for loss), as well as four interceptions and one sack. He even played some linebacker at Georgia because of other injuries to the position, but his calling card in the NFL will be as a hard hitting strong safety that puts fear into the eyes of any receiver willing to go across the middle. He plays with attitude, is a vocal leader and even called out his team for “playing soft” last season.

One could describe him as what the traditional NFL strong safety was before the league morphed into a pass-happy league that requires safeties who are more adapt at pass-coverage vs. laying the big hits.

 “He’s tough and smart and can run,” said defensive backs coach Mark Carrier. “There’s a lot of intangibles we like coming in but now it’s just a matter of getting acclimated to the pro game and getting his feet wet and seeing how the game plays out for him and what adjustments he can make. There are a lot of things we like, and we’ve got a pretty good record with Georgia guys.”

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