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Syracuse 2021 NFL Draft profile: Safety Trill Williams

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How might the versatile defensive back’s knack for big plays translate to the NFL?

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is quickly approaching. And even without a real scouting combine, prospective picks all over the country have had pro days. Though past years have created a ton of concerns for Syracuse Orange football fans around whether SU players would get drafted, that thankfully isn’t the case this year.

By all accounts, three Orange players will hear their names called during this year’s draft, which takes place from April 29-May 1. And in advance, we’ve been putting together profiles on each to discuss where they may be selected.

Last week, we discussed Ifeatu Melifonwu and Andre Cisco. Today:

Name: Trill Williams

Position: Safety

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 208 lbs.

Hometown: Yonkers, N.Y.

NFL Draft Projections: Last year’s injury and his shorter time on the field in college could mean a fifth-round selection instead of going earlier. But he’s clearly an athletic freak, so that will get him selected, even if he’s more of a diamond in the rough.

2020 Stats: As was the case with Cisco, we only got to see Trill on the field for a handful of games last year (five), but he did impress in that limited time. He had 24 tackles, 1 TFL, five defended passes and a touchdown in 2020. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fifth-best defender on this defense — with a grade of 74.9 — and he was also the second-best player in coverage, with a 78.7 mark.

Career Stats: Once again, some similarities to Cisco here since he played in 28 games over three years — but only started 15 of those. Trill had a total of 93 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, three forced fumbles, 10 passes defended, and four picks. Even when he wasn’t starting, he stood out as a dynamic playmaker on both defense and special teams, and it was easy to spot him on the field.

Game(s) to Watch: His 2020 game vs. Georgia Tech featured two pass break-ups and a pick. Williams also had two pass break-ups vs. Duke this past season.

Pro Day Performance:

He recorded a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and showcased solid leaping ability at pro day — which seemed to help bolster his case for being athletic and well recovered from injury.

Pros

Again, he’s a playmaker — and one that can play in a variety of positions around the secondary (in various schemes) while delivering big hits and showcasing a nose for the football. The fact that he scored touchdowns three different ways at Syracuse should put him on scouts’ radars. And the speed/size combo is ideal for an NFL safety. A knack for creating turnovers is not necessarily teachable the same way more fundamental skills are.

Cons

This may sound familiar when talking about Syracuse defenders, but he’s not the best tackler with PFF giving him a 55.1 grade in that department last season. Over-pursuit can be a problem and leaves him out of position. And he’s one to provide a decent cushion then attempt to deliver the big hit (vs. better coverage that prevents the completion to begin with).

Fun Fact: Trill was not the first member of his family to play at the FBS level. His brother Terran also played linebacker at Western Kentucky from 2011-14. He was sixth on the Hilltoppers in tackles as a senior.

TNIAAM Draft Prediction: Since it’s not the deepest safety draft, there’s a chance Trill either goes earlier than many think or later depending on team needs and who else is still available. The Eagles, Titans, Saints, Raiders and Patriots are on the short list of squads that could be looking to add a safety somewhere between the middle of the fourth round and the end of the sixth. His (bonus) special teams abilities and impressive athleticism should help him stand out among selections in that range.

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