Williams selected by Denver

Joe Harrington

Broncos select the former Kent State defensive back in fourth round to join loaded secondary

Former Kent State cornerback and three year starter Jack Williams will head west with mile-high expectations, after Williams was selected with the 119 overall pick by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round in yesterday’s NFL draft.

Williams, who started nearly every game over the last three seasons, follows former teammate and 2007 third-round draft pick Usama Young to the NFL. Young was drafted by the New Orleans Saints and saw playing time in various games.

Williams’ 4.43 40-yard dash and his physical style of play will now mesh with one of the more talented defensive backfields in the NFL. The Broncos have a pair of Pro-Bowl caliber cornerbacks, Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly, along with likely Hall of Famer John Lynch at safety.

“I don’t know too much about their DBs, but I know they have my style of play as far as the secondary,” Williams said in a press release. “They have Champ (Bailey) and a guy from my neighborhood, Dre’ Bly — he’s right from my neck of the woods. I’m ready to go.”

A Norfolk Va. native, Williams will likely see a lot time on special teams in his rookie season, something that Williams said Kent State prepared him for.

“I played all special teams (units),” he said. “It’s always been an important part of my game.”

Williams led the nation in forced fumbles during his junior season in 2006, but last season played through injuries, which may have been a warning sign.

“I think that was a big concern for a lot of teams,” Williams said. “I’m not sure how much it affected my draft stock, but I know it probably shied teams away with my performance from my senior year. I think what saved me was how well I played my junior year.”

The Broncos drafted another Mid-American Conference player, Bowling Green center Kory Lichtensteiger with the 108th pick in the fourth round.

Recent Kent State Draft Picks

2008-Jack Williams, 4th round, 119 overall, Denver Broncos

2007-Usama Young, 3rd round, 66 overall, New Orleans Saints

2000-Jason Gavadza, 6th round, 204 overall, Pittsburgh Steelers

1999-Eugene Baker, 5th round, 164 overall, Atlanta Falcons

1998-Bob Hallen, 2nd round, 53 overall, Atlanta Falcons

1997-OJ Santiago, 3rd round, 70 overall, Atlanta Falcons

Note: Cleveland Browns WR/KR Josh Cribbs and Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison were both undrafted free agents who made the Pro Bowl in the 2007 NFL season.

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington at [email protected].