Saints take safety Williams in second round of NFL draft
METAIRIE, La. (AP) The New Orleans Saints added a ball-hawking safety and made a trade to take a running back during the second day of the NFL draft.
The Saints have used their second-round pick on Utah safety Marcus Williams, who has intercepted 10 passes over his last two seasons. New Orleans has also traded a 2018 second-round pick and this year's seventh rounder to San Francisco so they could draft Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara early in the third round.
The trade increased to three the number of Saints third-round picks, and two had yet to be used at the time they chose Kamara.
The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Williams, picked 42nd overall on Friday night, intercepted five passes in 11 games last season and also had five interceptions in 2015, when he was selected first-team All-Pac-12.
The Saints have now used two of their first three draft choices to bolster a secondary which struggled last season. New Orleans ranked last in the NFL in yards passing allowed. A night earlier, the Saints used their top pick, the 11th overall, to take Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
Williams describes himself as a confident player and sounds like one when describing his game.
''I'm able to get sideline to sideline. I'm that guy that wants to take the ball away regardless of where I'm at and I can make tackles,'' Williams said.
Williams impressed scouts with his 43+-inch vertical leap, tied from the second highest of any prospect at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, and only a half-inch lower than the highest leap.
He played basketball in high school in the Los Angeles area.
''I dunked on a couple people,'' he said.
He credited his ball skills to his basketball background and to playing receiver in high school.
The 5-10, 214-pound Kamara was a prized Alabama recruit who wound up leaving the Crimson Tide and spent the bulk of his college career as a backup rusher at Tennessee. Still, he performed well when given the chance, gaining 596 yards and nine touchdowns on 103 carries in 2016.
While Kamara's combination of size, speed and relative good health made him among the top running back prospects in this year's draft, the Saints didn't necessarily need a running back, with Mark Ingram and recently acquired veteran Adrian Peterson on the roster.
Through four picks, the Saints had yet to take an edge pass-rusher, a position of need.
New Orleans' defense had 30 sacks last season - more than only five teams - and ranked 27th in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt.
The Saints also had the last pick in Thursday night's first round, using that to select Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
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