And it’s not like the Bengals exactly reached for him in the late third-round. Most services had him graded out as a 3rd-4th rounder prospect.
NFP’s Russ Lande spoke pretty highly of Williams following his Georgia Pro Day performance:
"Safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams both worked out today, although Williams was clearly the better of the two. Rambo was smooth and fluid in most of the positional drills, although he struggled in the pedal, turn and run drill which accentuated the slight stiffness in his hips. Displaying soft hands and good ball skills, it was easy to see how Rambo made so many big plays in pass coverage. While Williams was not viewed as the same caliber athlete on film as Rambo, today he was quicker and decidedly better in all the drills. He did surprisingly well in the pedal, turn and run drills and made it look easy changing directions and flipping hips during the positional drills. Combining his strong workout today with his good college career and outstanding character and intangibles, a source at the workout told us that they think Williams could end up being a ten year starter in the NFL. COMPARES TO: Bernard Pollard, SS, Ravens — While perhaps not the elite athlete to counter today’s spread offenses, there will always be a spot for safeties with Pollard and Williams’ blend of size, physicality and toughness."
Bleacher Report NFL Draft expert Matt Miller is also a fan of Williams, and likes him more than the more regarded Rambo.
Bengals Beat Writer Joe Reedy even went out of his way to defend Williams:
So all-in-all, the Bengals made another solid selection with Williams, and given their recent history of success with Georgia players, there’s no reason to believe Williams won’t eventually become a a solid contributor for Cincinnati.