Today’s NFL is a passing league, and teams routinely trot out three or four wide receivers early and often. To counter that, defenses are in nickel or dime packages more now than ever. Patrick Surtain II and Ronald Darby provide the Denver Broncos with two solid outside cornerbacks.
However, a gap was created when Bryce Callahan’s contract expired. With the increased time in nickel and dime looks, the Broncos placed a premium on players who can tackle.
George Paton brought in the tenacious K’Wuan Williams to fill that void. The former San Francisco 49ers defensive back is a perfect fit because of coverage ability, ball skills, and willingness to put his nose in the middle of the fray.
Williams (30) relishes the role, earning him a fitting nickname, “The Shark”. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Williams played 72% of the 49ers’ snaps per Pro Football Reference. Williams was on the field so often because of his ability to impact the game in a multitude of ways.
“It’s just a niche position that I’ve been able to play for a long time in this league,” said the veteran when asked about playing the nickel position. “I have experience. I’m ready to lead and bounce some ideas off all the DBs in the room and elevate our whole defensive side of the ball. [I want to] be able to attack the ball and play physical. That’s going to be our standard on the defensive side of the ball.”
Williams is a dynamic slot corner who has a nose for the ball
Williams’s style should help the team feel confident in stopping the run or defending tight ends. Being able to have more defensive backs on the field with his ability to attack the line of scrimmage with authority gives Pro Football Focus run defense grade of 73.7, Williams can be a real asset for Denver.
K’Wuan Williams is one of the most underrated players in the entire league. 🦈🦈
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) February 15, 2021
Generating pressure was a problem for Denver last season. Williams an accomplished blitzer, this allows new Evero the freedom to use a chess piece to bring pressure from anywhere on the field.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) December 28, 2020
Broncos new corner knows this defense must create more turnovers
Attacking the ball is what the Broncos defense needs more of. Only creating a handful of turnovers the last few seasons (21st in the NFL in 2021), the Broncos must find a way to make more plays on the ball. A player like Williams will bring a nose to the ball. The team hopes William’s style is contagious for his fellow defensive backs. The Broncos want to create more turnovers than in years past. They’ll need to steal possessions against some of the leagues’ most potent offenses residing in the AFC West.
Williams knows that.
“Getting the ball is everything,” Williams proclaimed. “Providing the offense with more opportunities to make drives, that’s what we do on defense. You just want the takeaway [by] any way possible, whether that’s a forced fumble, TFL or just making a big sack. You just have to be there and make plays for your defense and being able to sacrifice for the team and make plays when your number is called.”
— 49ers & NFL News 24/7 (@49ersSportsTalk) January 30, 2022
In the end, Williams will provide the Broncos with a dynamic player. Williams brings the slot coverage ability of a corner with the box presence of a strong safety.
“Being versatile, being able to make plays on the ball, being able to tackle, being able to communicate with the guys around you, and being able to have that inside presence,” Williams said when asked what makes an effective slot corner. “Being able to fit the runs if they run it at you, being versatile, and being a Swiss Army Knife for the defense.”
Williams is all of those things and his skill set will fit in nicely in Denver.