Buffalo Bills’ Safety Aaron Williams Poised To Breakout In 2013 Season

Buffalo Bills’ defensive back Aaron Williams has received quite a bit of criticism since being selected with the team’s second-round draft choice in the 2011 NFL draft. Whether it came from the hindsight of the stellar play of Colin Kaepernick (selected one pick after Williams), or his seemingly inconsistent play, many fans have chosen him as the scapegoat.

Not this year.

While battling through various nagging injuries, Williams has appeared in 20 games in his first two seasons. In his 16 starts, he’s made 65 tackles, one interception and forced two fumbles.

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

However, the new coaching staff believed it was in the best interest of Williams and the Bills if he were to make a switch to safety, a position many draft analysts assumed he would play when entering the league.

With Mike Pettine’s emphasis on not labeling safeties “free” or “strong,” instead using “right” or “left,” Williams has the physical tools necessary to be effective on both sides of the defense.

Williams has the size and athleticism necessary to compete with the more athletic tight ends the team will be facing, as well as the shifty slot receivers that are taking the NFL by storm.

With Williams’ experience at both cornerback and safety, the position switch gives him scheme-versatility which will allow him to see significant playing time. While there’s no doubt he’s struggled in his first two seasons, the coaching staff appears very optimistic about Williams’ quick adjustment.

While speaking to BuffaloBills.com’s Lead Journalist Chris Brown, Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine had this to say about Williams’ progression.

“Every day is a challenge for him as far as new concepts in the playbook. I think he’s done a real nice job buying in and really getting quickly to the graduate level details of it.”

“Being a safety is such a different world from being a corner. Now there are a lot of plays where he ends up locked on a guy and his corner instincts can take over. But it is a lot of learning and a lot of communication and I think he’s ahead of schedule of where we thought he would be. He’s flashed just things that we saw in him as far as being a safety.”

In OTA’s and minicamp, Williams racked up five interceptions, which is a testament to his ability to make plays when he’s able to see the whole field.

With more freedom allowed in Coach Pettine’s defense, especially at the safety position, his combination of size, strength and speed should allow him to develop into a solid all-around safety that can provide run support and blitz the quarterback.

It typically takes most NFL players until their third season before you can get a real feel for the type of player they are, and being that this is Williams’ third, it’s time for him to prove himself.

3 Replies to “Buffalo Bills’ Safety Aaron Williams Poised To Breakout In 2013 Season”

  1. First I’d like to say thanks for the work you’ve done and continue to do as far putting out good Bills material for our consumption. I hope you and the Bills are right about Aaron Williams, if he does improve to the point he can actually start and hold that safety spot it could help to solidify the back end of the defense, would be nice to see some of these plans workout once the season starts.

  2. I remember people touting him as a really good option to switch to safety coming out of college. Seems like Pettine realized this and so far through OTAs, it looks like the scouts and Pettine were right. It will be interesting to see the depth chart at safety going into Week One, especially considering Pettine will use three safeties on the field at times. Byrd, Searcy, and A. Williams? Can’t wait to see what Duke Williams brings to the table too.

  3. I am estatatic to see our secondary Gilmore and Byrd our young stars with so much potental and I will even say openly I much prefer Gilmore to Richard Sherman just because of the entire peds and attitude and trash-talking. Gilmore is going to break out I see him having up to eight ints his year and McKelvin will also hold down the starting postion and have five this year. I can also see Brooks getting alot of playing time and getting up to four ints whichis unlkely I see him with two or three.