The position of safety still seems like a question mark for the Las Vegas Raiders defense after last season.
Johnathan Abram played 13 games after missing virtually all of his rookie season in 2019 and led the team in tackles.
That doesn’t remove the fact that he was rated last among all safeties by Pro Football Focus (PFF) in 2020.
The team’s other starter, Erik Harris, is a free agent this offseason, while veteran Jeff Heath has only one year left on his contract.
All this leads to the Raiders potentially needing at least one new safety for the 2021 season, and free agent Marcus Williams could be that guy.
A second-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2017, Williams has been a starter since day one.
Williams was part of a rookie class in 2017 that led a defensive revival in New Orleans, quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the league.
Fans might still remember him best as the defensive back who got burned on the “Minneapolis Miracle” play in the 2018 playoffs.
However, that would distract from the fact that in three of his four seasons, Williams has been ranked seventh or better among safeties by PFF.
Williams is a proven ballhawk, recording 13 interceptions and 30 pass breakups over the last four years.
According to PFF, he also has the highest rate of forced incomplete passes for the position.
Williams is more than comfortable getting downhill as well, having high marks in run defense and having 55 or more tackles in every season of his career.
He has the skillset to be an effective safety in any scheme seemingly, making him an attractive free-agent target.
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley knows how impactful good safety play can be on defense. He coached arguably the best safety duo in recent memory in Seattle, with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Signing Williams would give Bradley someone who is more than capable of quarterbacking the back end of the Raiders defense.
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