Williams watches, waits with NFL Draft
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on April 23, 2004 2:03 PM
WINSTON-SALEM -- An English major with a concentration in poetry and 19th century literature in the NFL?
The two usually do not go hand-in-hand. But former Rosewood High and upcoming Wake Forest University graduate Quintin Williams will have that degree in May.
The safety started 38 consecutive games for the Demon Deacons, and his pro football future will be decided this weekend during the NFL Draft. The draft begins Saturday at noon with rounds one-through-three and continues Sunday at 11 a.m. with rounds four-through-six.
Williams and his agent, Teddi Domann, both believe their is a significant chance he will be selected during the draft's second day. If he's not, it's certainly possible he will be invited several days after the draft as a free agent to try out for a franchise.
He backed his 71-tackle performance during his senior season with the Deacs with a solid effort at the NFL combine in Indianapolis during the third week of February.
He was the strongest safety at the combine, benching 225 pounds 21 times. His 40 time was 4.58 seconds to go with a vertical leap of 37 inches and a broad jump of 10-feet, two inches. He also mentioned that he faired well in his position drills.
Statistics aside, Williams was pleased to hear feedback from NFL coaches that had as much or more to do with his persona than his strength and conditioning.
"They talked more about my character and background than football," said Williams, who has a better than 3.0 grade point average. "They didn't know a lot about my history and grades. To get those complements about my character really meant a lot."
Being a positive fixture in the locker room may not propel Williams into being a first-day draftee, but it could be the deciding factor in placing Williams above another defensive back.
"First teams start with athleticsm. Those tests are important, and that puts in you into groups," Domann said. "Once they take a chance to dissect, then what separates those players are those other traits.
"He's a chemistry maker. One common thing people say about him is he is a consensus builder."
Williams is quick to point out key influences back home.
"I still think Rosewood was the biggest influence on me to date. Playing for coach (Daniel) Barrow molded me as a football player and a person," Williams said. "I definitely learned the values of hard work, dedication and team unity that help you be a good defensive football player."
Williams obviously knows he will be faced with huge adjustments.
He was accustomed to being a star in high school and a safety who called the plays in college. At best, he would become a role player in the NFL that may have to put time in on special teams before seeing the field on defense.
"I think it's going to be hard, because I've never been in that situation," Williams said. "That's going to be something new to me. It will be something more to motivate me. I just hope I can rise to the challenge and play a more significant role on the team."
Still, these are "ifs" right now. He considers this week "one of the most stressful weeks of my life so far." It's pretty likely his nerves will be in high gear by the time Saturday night rolls around.
"I just hope for the best and prepare for the worst," Williams said. "Everybody hopes they get drafted. Then again, there is a thousand players out there. If football doesn't work out, then I have law school, grad school or either teach or coach from there."
That is a refreshing and impressive fall-back plan -- for this or any era.
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