JACKSONVILLE – Quincy Williams didn’t get an invite to the NFL combine. He didn’t have a pro day at Murray State. He didn’t even think he would get drafted, at least not in the third round.
He ended up being Jacksonville’s biggest, maybe boldest, reach in the NFL draft.
The Jaguars chose the 5-fooot-10, 225-pound linebacker – best known for being Alabama star Quinnen Williams’ older brother – with the 98th overall pick during the three-day event. The selection was so surprising that NFL Network couldn’t dig up his highlights immediately.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell spent 10 minutes defending the decision, explaining the team had no fourth-round pick, couldn’t find a trade partner and thought Williams was one of the last linebackers available with “some starter traits.”
Now, given the uncertainty of Telvin Smith’s future in Jacksonville, Williams could end up filling a potential hole in the defense.
Smith is skipping voluntary workouts and hasn’t returned calls from team officials, raising speculation that he could be on the trading block. Caldwell and personnel chief Tom Coughlin denied reports that Smith is available. But Caldwell also stopped short of saying he expects Smith, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, to be on the roster this fall.
“We’ll see. We’ve got time. Like Coach (Doug) Marrone said, these are all voluntary situations,” Caldwell said. “We’ll see what happens and start a dialogue there. … I don’t want to go into hypothetical situations.”
Williams played in 43 games at Murray State, notching 231 tackles, nine pass breakups and three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
“I’m very confident in my abilities,” he said. “”The biggest thing is me being dependable. My work ethic was huge, too.”
Mark Ellenz, Jacksonville’s director of college scouting, said the pick went from getting panned to getting praised.
“We didn’t take him to make a splash,” Ellenz said. “I know my phone is getting blown up by people and I see the stuff, the bloggers and everything, and they’re like, ‘Who is this kid? What a wasted pick!’
“And then they go and watch his (highlights) and go, ‘Oh, great pick.’ So just be patient with it and let’s see what happens.”