Between Ifeatu Melifonwu, Andre Cisco, and Trill Williams, the Syracuse Orange could have three defensive backs selected by the end of Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft. While Melifonwu and Cisco have the most name recognition, Syracuse cornerback Williams is just as talented and offers a unique brand of upside. What does Williams’ draft projection look like, and can he be a starter at the next level?
Trill Williams NFL Draft Profile
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 198 pounds
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Syracuse
- Current Year: Junior
Tony Pauline’s Trill Williams Scouting Report
Positives: Physical corner with excellent size and speed. Athletic, physical, and engages receivers at the line of scrimmage, slowing their release off the snap. Plays to his size, possesses excellent length, and physically beats down opponents defending the pass. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Fires up the field defending the run and wraps up tackling.
Negatives: Loses transitioning with opponents off the line. Usually a half-step behind the action and ineffective covering receivers on crossing patterns. Possesses an average closing burst.
Analysis: Williams is a tough defensive back with the physical skills for the next level, but he needs a lot of work on his game. He’s better facing the action where he can see the ball and may be limited to a zone system at the next level.
Trill Williams Player Profile
Williams’ full name is, in fact, Atrilleon Williams. But the nickname “Trill” rolls off the tongue, and after his senior season in high school, he needed a name to be known by. Williams was a two-way player for Archbishop Stepinac High, logging snaps at both wide receiver and cornerback.
Although he gained over 200 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in 2017, cornerback was his primary position. In his senior year, Williams amassed 5 interceptions, 19 pass deflections, and 5 forced fumbles.
Williams would have been a more sought-after recruit were it not for his uninspiring athletic testing. Despite his production, Williams concluded his high school career as a three-star recruit. He received offers to play for teams such as Buffalo, Boston College, Rutgers, Temple, and Pittsburgh. However, the chance to play Power Five football in-state was most compelling for Williams, leading to his commitment to the Syracuse Orange.
Trill Williams’ career as a Syracuse cornerback
Williams came to Syracuse as a forgotten prospect, but he quickly set out to change that. Williams managed to see the field as a true freshman, starting four of 12 games in the slot and the boundary. In total, the versatile defensive back accumulated 31 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 2 interceptions over that span. He also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, further bolstering his résumé.
In 2019, Williams moved to a more primary role in the slot. He played in 11 games, starting six in the slot and one outside. Again, Williams’ versatility bore fruit. The Syracuse cornerback amassed 38 tackles, 1 interception, 1 deflection, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 defensive touchdown.
Related | ACC Scouting Reports for 2021 NFL Draft
It wasn’t long before 2020 came, and Syracuse entered the year with a stacked secondary consisting of Williams, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Andre Cisco, and redshirt freshman Garrett Williams. The elder Williams only played in five games but out-produced all his previous years. Williams put up 23 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 4 pass deflections, and a 90-yard pick-six over that span.
Injuries eventually forced Williams off the field and led him to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Nevertheless, the Syracuse cornerback only needed half a season to entice NFL teams with his potential.
Trill Williams’ best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Williams has an intriguing skill set, and it starts with his athletic tools. The Syracuse cornerback has developed quite a bit as an athlete since his high school days. He was named to Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List ahead of the 2020 season — at 6’2″, he recorded a 4.34 40-yard dash time and a 40-inch vertical.
Williams’ pro day numbers weren’t quite as dominant, but that only emphasizes his athletic upside. He still achieved an excellent Relative Athletic Score of 9.86. Williams registered a 4.42 40-yard dash (with an insane 1.48 10-yard split), 20 bench reps, a 36-inch vertical, and a 123-inch broad jump.
Ifeatu Melifonwu is comfortably the highest-rated Syracuse defensive back, but Williams should be second on the team’s NFL Draft prospects. Williams is long, rangy, athletic, physical, and extremely versatile having played on the boundary, in the slot, and at safety situationally. He can play both man and zone coverage effectively and has the density to provide support at the line of scrimmage. Overall, Williams’ skill set is enticing and one that should be in high demand. The question is, where?
Where might Trill Williams project best?
Williams likely projects as a Day 2 prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Syracuse cornerback already had an impressive résumé but now possesses stellar athletic testing to back it up. Williams was an asset with his versatility for the Syracuse defense and will likely carry a similar kind of appeal in the NFL. Anywhere on Day 2 fits his draft range, but it’s not out of the question that a team selects him in Round 2 due to his multifaceted utility.
As for team fits, Williams’ potential landing spots are fairly wide-reaching. Even after signing Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, the Denver Broncos remain an excellent schematic fit for Williams. Williams, who fits Vic Fangio’s mold at the position, would provide versatile depth and rotational ability right away. Moreover, if Fuller leaves in 2022 after his one-year contract expires, Williams could slide into a more significant role.
Teams like the Panthers, Titans, and Eagles should also look to acquire Williams’ services, but that goes for most front-office executives. He’s a young, talented player with a bright future ahead if he can land in a spot that maximizes his traits.
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