After losing Jairus Byrd, the coveted Free Agent Safety, Aaron Williams was thrust into the spotlight as the lone Safety with experience for the Bills. Williams is a well rounded safety and made the move from cornerback to strong safety last year after having two so so years playing cornerback.
The move seemed to be a good one by the Bills coaching staff. Williams thrived in the defensive backfield for the Bills. He more than doubled his first two years in tackles, 82 and came away with 4 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. Williams seemed to be a true natural safety and after signing a contract extension for four years, he is here to stay for some time.
Is Williams a better Free Safety or Strong Safety? Williams plays Strong Safety but is he a better cover man, than deep man? Williams is able to do both and is considered a hybrid-safety. Schwartz is looking at the options he has at safety to play next to Williams and is excited about his options and what he can do.
“I think the whole league has moved to interchangeable safeties,” Schwartz said. “The days of having an in-the-box safety and a deep safety, that’s – all they have to do is motion the tight and and you can change it. You have to be able to cover a wide receiver man to man, but you also have to be able to get down in the box and tackle a 235-pound running back. You have to be able to blitz. It’s a wide range of skill set.”
Williams is this interchangeable safety. The other options at safety for Schwartz are Da’Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, and Jonathan Meeks. All four safeties are pretty much equal in size and stature. Playing ability and the ability to fit into a scheme for Schwartz that would include two interchangeable/hybrid safeties is a little different for these guys. Out of the three that are fighting for the final safety spot, Duke Williams is uncharacteristically very similar to Aaron. They are almost the same prototypical hybrid safety. They both have cornerback skills and are similar in physical ability.
Having both of them in the defensive backfield and just changing who is up and who is back, will allow for a lot of freedom and options for the defense and their cover schemes. When a tight end goes into motion there is no need to actually move the safeties around or worry about the coverage ability in the slot.
At this point, if I had to choose someone to go alongside Aaron Williams, and that could be the best fit, Duke is going to get to my vote. I like the Williams duo in that defensive backfield.