JoeJuan Williams was the Patriots‘ second round draft pick in the 2019 draft but has seem very limited action on the field due to the level of competition in the defensive back position group. The Patriots like to play a lot of man coverage on defense which requires cornerbacks and safeties to athletic enough to keep up with the receivers they are covering. Williams is not very fast but is very physical and has a tremendous nose for the ball. In his last season in college, Williams led the entire SEC in interceptions. This week’s game against the Eagles may be a perfect match up opportunity for a guy with Williams’ skill set.
I want to preface this by saying there has not been any indication that says Williams’ role within the defense will increase this week, but there are a few points that back up this theory. The Eagles have four receivers who are at least 6’2 and their two tight ends are both 6’5, and JoeJuan Williams is 6’4. The Patriots were not able to cover tight ends in the flats in their game against Baltimore two weeks ago, but JoeJuan Williams seems like a real candidate to defend the tight ends in the pass game. Another thing that caught my eye is that Patrick Chung has been on the Patriots’ injury report all week. He has been practicing but he has been limited. Williams is a true cornerback but Bill Belichick did experiment with putting Williams back at safety a few times already this season. Belichick prides himself on the versatility of his defense and is not scared to play guys out of position. If Chung is not at 100% by Sunday, there is a chance Williams could step in for him.
Williams would also match up well against a guy like Alshon Jeffery, but he is Carson Wentz’s favorite target and the clear-cut number one receiver on the team, so we can assume Stephon Gilmore will be covering Jeffery. Belichick has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to utilize his 2nd round pick this year, and this week makes the most sense so far this season.