It’s been over two weeks since the 2022 NFL Draft concluded and the hype for the Baltimore Ravens’ impressive 11-man haul is still high. Often overly optimistic and sometimes unfair projections are placed on first-year players entering the league before they even take a preseason snap.
With that in mind, the return of my annual realistic expectation article series has arrived.
CB Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams
Round 4, No. 141 overall
The former University of Houston Cougar was the second cornerback that the Ravens selected in the fourth round. He played several different positions in the Cougars’ secondary while in college but given his size and stature at 5-foot-10 and around 180 pounds, he projects best as a nickel corner.
Prior to the signing of veteran defensive back Kyle Fuller earlier this week, Williams could’ve realistically been in the mix to replace Tavon Young. Young was released earlier this offseason and is now in Chicago with the Bears. While Williams will still be in the mix for snaps at that spot, Fuller’s arrival frees up Marlon Humphrey to spend more time in the slot — when opposing teams roll out three or more wide receiver sets.
William’s top competition for slot reps outside of Humphrey and Fuller, who both possess inside/outside versatility, is second-year pros Ar’Darius Washington and possibly Brandon Stephens. Washington was a safety in college and played some nickel before converting to corner full time in the pros. Stephens converted to safety as a rookie but will be returning to corner this season to help out in their thin secondary.
Expect to see Williams more active on special teams than on defense as a rookie. However, if history is any indicator, with 2021 being the most prime example, injuries can and often do happen. The feisty defensive back could be forced into extended action at any time, plays with an aggressive edge, and won’t shy away from contact or competition.
He possesses the positional versatility to play at several different spots that the Ravens covet in their defensive backs. Williams’ instincts, ball skills, and aggressive mentality in coverage, as well as run support, will ensure that he is regularly active on game days to provide more depth and special teams contributions.