Top 25 Saints of 2020: No. 21, Marcus Williams

John Hendrix

We'd like to think New Orleans Saints football is right around the corner, but things seem to get cloudier each day across the NFL. The league and NFLPA still can't agree on several things, and we're quickly approaching the start of the season deadline. We keep rolling on with our Top 25 Saints player countdown, and present the list thus far.

The Countdown

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Nov 10, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) intercepts a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 - Marcus Williams

Marcus Williams has been a quietly underrated presence in the Saints secondary, and is coming off a good bounce back season from 2018. He graded out as Pro Football Focus' fourth-highest safety at an 88.2 overall grade in 2019, all on 1,029 snaps. Williams played in 15 games, finishing with 55 total tackles (38 solo), 4 interceptions (highest on team), 13 pass defenses, a forced fumble and two coverage stops.

Williams' 10 interceptions since entering the league in 2017 is tied for 10th in the league since that period. In the season opener against the Texans, he nabbed a key interception late in the 3rd quarter with the team trailing. He also had picks against the Cowboys, Falcons, and a pick-six against the Buccaneers. He posted a season-high 7 tackles in both games against Atlanta last season. Although the Vikings game didn't turn out the way anyone wanted in the Wild Card Round, Williams finished as the leading tackler, finishing with a postseason career-high 10 tackles.

Williams' Outlook in 2020

Marcus Williams is entering the final year of his original rookie contract, and should only get better with veteran Malcolm Jenkins in the secondary. Some look at Williams as a Top 10 guy, while others notice and point out how underrated he is. Some of the dismissal or spite might stem from the memorable plays he's been in over the years. For instance, the George Kittle facemask penalty/play last year serves as a shining example.

Make no mistake about it, Williams is a commodity and asset on the Saints defense. He's going to get paid a good bit on his next contract like the others from the exceptional 2017 draft class. Just how much is going to hinge on his performance, and if he can replicate something similar to his rookie and 2019 season, then the price tag will only go up.

Comments (6)
No. 1-6
Saucier
Saucier

I clearly remember what happened last time we had safety leadership with Darren Sharper.

BtBoylan
BtBoylan

Editor

I don't understand the hate Williams gets. He is a great young talent with limitless range.

Agull34
Agull34

I think Williams is a guy that can really progress in 2020 with the help of the veteran presence of Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins should help Williams get in the right spots, so hopefully we see less negative plays in the secondary this year.

Bob Rose
Bob Rose

Editor

Marcus has been criticized for some tackling gaffes in big moments and rightfully so, but he has spectacular range as a centerfielder

JMcGuan
JMcGuan

Great insight! A lot of people undervalue Marcus Williams. He has the ability to be a top safety in the league. He can learn a lot from Malcolm Jenkins in 2020. I hope the Saints can find a way to keep Williams after his rookie contract is up.

SamL
SamL

Marcus Williams is overlooked a lot. With the addition of Malcolm Jenkins, I think Marcus and the general play from safeties will improve.


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