The Ravens’ biggest offseason splash this year came early in free agency, when they signed free safety Marcus Williams to a five-year, $70 million contract. This deal ranked as one of the largest signed by any free agent in 2022, which isn’t a surprise considering Williams’ market.
The former New Orleans Saint was widely considered one of the top defensive players, and players overall, on the market. On top of the five-year commitment, the Ravens gave him $37 million in guaranteed money. It might come as a surprise, then, that some people still consider him underrated.
Earlier this week, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus listed every NFL’s team most underrated player. For the Ravens, Monson slotted Williams in this spot, despite the fact that he has yet to actually suit up for the team.
“It’s unfair to Williams that he’s forever attached to the Minneapolis Miracle as the player in the wrong place, at the wrong time and doing the wrong thing while Stefon Diggs trotted into the end zone to steal a win, and it probably taints his league-wide perception” Monson said.
This is a key point because for all his merits, some still associate Williams’ name with the infamous “Minneapolis Miracle” play in 2018. It unfortunately overshadowed what was a strong two-year start to his career up to that moment. Since then, though, and more importantly even before that, Williams has been of the better safeties in the league.
“Williams has been a phenomenally consistent player in the NFL, earning an overall PFF grade of at least 74.0 in each season of his career” Monson noted. “Three of his five years of play have seen him earn an 84.3-plus coverage grade, and he now goes to a defense in Baltimore with the potential to maximize his coverage skills and overall impact.”
Advanced metrics like these speak to Williams’ elite coverage ability, which is his primary calling card. He’s established himself as one of the premier single-high, ball-hawking type safeties in the NFL, and this skill set should pay dividends for Baltimore’s defensive success in 2022 and beyond.
Williams has 15 career interceptions in 76 starts and in 2021, he recorded a career-high 74 combined tackles. If he is still “underrated” to some as Monson prescribes, that narrative could very well change this upcoming season.
What other Ravens’ players do you think were worthy of being labeled the team’s most underrated player? Share your thoughts below and join in the conversation.