Packers Nation, the Green Bay Packers are undergoing a significant transformation at the Safety position this year. With a major free-agent signing in Xavier McKinney and three drafted safeties, the back end of our defense is set to look entirely different. This article takes a closer look at one of the key additions, Evan Williams, and explores where he might fit into this new defensive lineup.

Evan Williams: Origins

Evan Williams hails from Los Gatos, CA. Alongside his brother Bennett, Evan began his football journey in Pop Warner as a child. Williams attended Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, CA. As a sophomore, he led the JV team to an undefeated 10-0 record before joining the varsity squad for the 2016 state playoffs. By his junior year, Williams was a varsity starter, contributing to an 11-4 record and the 2017 state championship. His senior year was even more impressive, earning him the 2018 League Football Player of the Year and first-team All-State honors with 35 receptions for 891 yards and a school-record 14 touchdowns. On defense, he added 35 tackles, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Evan Williams: College Years

Williams, a three-star recruit, was ranked No. 137 among safeties in the 2019 recruiting class and No. 167 in California. His standout performances caught the attention of college scouts, and he received his first scholarship offer from Illinois, where his brother played. Despite interest from FCS teams and Ivy League schools, Williams chose Fresno State after receiving a late offer from them. He quickly made a name for himself, becoming one of the top recruits in head coach Jeff Tedford’s 2019 class.

After an injury-plagued 2022 season at Fresno State, Williams decided to transfer for his final college season. He received interest from several major programs but ultimately chose Oregon, influenced by his brother, Bennett, who was a standout defensive back for the Ducks. Williams accepted an invitation to the 2024 Senior Bowl and was voted the top Saftey for the National team during practice week, further solidifying his reputation.

Evan Williams: Skills and Attributes

Williams brings a wealth of experience and versatility to the field, having started in all five seasons in college. Known for his strong instincts in zone coverage, Williams excels at reading route patterns and quarterback eyes to make plays on the ball. His fluid movements allow him to mirror receivers and track vertically downfield, displaying excellent ball skills and a knack for interceptions.

However, Williams has some physical limitations. He lacks top-end speed and range, which can hinder him in covering cross routes and as a center fielder. His smaller frame and lack of length also present challenges in winning at the catch point and bringing down bigger ball carriers. Despite these drawbacks, Williams’ toughness, energy, and football IQ make him a valuable asset in run support and zone coverage.

Future with the Packers

Evan Williams is an instinctual player with a nose for the football. In the run game, he quickly diagnoses plays and attacks downhill with urgency. His physicality and aggressiveness are evident, though he sometimes misses tackles due to over-pursuing or not breaking down properly before engaging the ball carrier. In the passing game, Williams shines in zone coverage, where his anticipation and quickness allow him to disrupt routes and make plays.

Although he may not have the physical tools to be a consistent NFL starter, Williams’ instincts, versatility, and toughness will likely earn him a role on the Packers’ defense. His ability to play multiple positions in the secondary and his special teams potential make him a valuable addition to the roster.

With the addition of Xavier McKinney and the new influx of talent, the Packers’ Safety  position is poised for a transformation. Evan Williams brings a unique skill set  and a tenacious attitude that could help redefine the back end of our defense. Keep an eye on him during training camp as he poised to make his mark in Green Bay.