Patriots: Here’s why Joejuan Williams will be key for NE in 2020 and beyond

Patriots CB Joejuan Williams (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Patriots CB Joejuan Williams (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

Cornerback Joejuan Williams is overlooked among Patriots fans, but that needs to stop.

It goes without saying that the New England Patriots will need players to step up at all positions following an offseason that comprised of seemingly endless roster turnover. Several starters from last season left in free agency and they watched an NFL-leading eight players opt out of the 2020 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking just in terms of the secondary, the Patriots will have to fill the void left by safety Patrick Chung, who elected not to play this year because his girlfriend was pregnant with their child and his dad is at risk at 75 years old.

While he may not be a like-for-like replacement for the three-time champion, Joejuan Williams has really been showcasing his value in the early stages of camp. The latest buzz indicates that the 2019 second-round pick has been lining up at every position in the secondary in recent practices.

Williams is a cornerback by trade, but the Patriots are simply too loaded at the position — they already roster Stephon Gilmore, budding star JC Jackson, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones — for him to earn significant playing time there.

However, the starting safety job is up for grabs in the wake of Chung’s decision to opt out. What could give the Vanderbilt product the edge over his running mates is his imposing size. At 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, Williams has the required physique to cover athletic tight ends.

When you consider that neither one of Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger and Terrence Brooks is taller than 6-foot-1, the Patriots could be intrigued by the prospect of deploying the 22-year-old Williams at safety. The latter two players missed the team’s latest practice, and it really seems like Williams made the most of his opportunities filling in for them.

It’s likely that New England picks multiple players on the depth chart to help the team overcome the loss of Chung. With approximately three weeks left until the start of the regular season, we wouldn’t be surprised if Williams, at the very least, carves out a prominent role in the safety rotation.

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