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Cincinnati Bengals Player Preview: Georgia Bulldogs Safety Shawn Williams

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Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs safety Shawn Williams (36) and Georgia Bulldogs safety Bacarri Rambo (18) huddle with their team prior to the start of the 2012 SEC Championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Williams is also very durable, as he appeared in 14 games last year while making 14 starts, and was second on the team with 98 tackles and had 5.5 tackles-for-loss. He was also regarded as one of the most influential leaders on a Bulldogs team that came within 4 yards of beating Alabama in the SEC Championship and ultimately playing for a National Championship. He was elected as the team’s defensive captain and was the recipient of the Coaches’ Leadership Award and the Frank Sinkwich Toughness Award.

Despite not getting selected until late on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, Williams has an opportunity that most 3rd-round selections don’t get, and that is a real opportunity to be the opening day starter. With Taylor Mays being his main competition in camp, I look for Williams to beat out Mays for the job and become an instant contributor from day one. Williams is a Natural leader, and at 6ft 218 lbs, he is what you call a “box safety”, which will compliment Reggie Nelson well who is more of a “field safety”.

Both though can play coverage and tackle which is what DC Mike Zimmer wants, versatility. Together, Zimmer will be more flexible in his exotic blitz packages involving the safeties. Williams possesses all the physical and mental tools you look for in a safety. Quick, aggressive, calls signals on the field and not afraid to put a hit on someone. Look for Williams to be a key contributor down the stretch, after he’s adjusted to the speed of the game.