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Duke Williams-S-Nevada

Here's a guy that I really haven't seen mentioned much at all for an intriguing prospect, especially one that had a private workout for the 49ers. Obviously Kaepernick is familiar with him as they were together at Nevada for 2 seasons. He doesn't have great size, but not terrible either at 5'11" and 200 pounds. He has good athletic ability, running the 40 in 4.4, with a good vertical as well. He's a track guy that has blossomed into a very good football player. An aggressive safety that loves to hit and comes up to attack the run in a hurry, but also a guy who is quite capable and competent in man coverage. He shows good agility in coverage and can hang with slot receivers and tight-ends alike. He played both safety positions as well as some cornerback for Nevada.

He's got some character issues, mostly minor boneheaded stuff as the result of being young and stupid, but character wise he seems to have a good reputation amongst the Wolfpack players and coaches. I'm sure Kaepernick could fill in the blanks on this guy even better.

Ultimately he looks like a very nice safety prospect that could be had in the 4th round. He has limited special teams experience as a kick returner but is a smart, aggressive player that could find a home with the 49ers about a month from now.


[ Edited by Phoenix49ers on Mar 22, 2013 at 4:37 PM ]
Interesting. I still think we should take at least one S higher, one of Vaccaro, Cyprien, and Thomas. I'm not opposed to taking two safeties in the first 5 rounds this year. Is this guy a better 4th round option than Rambo?
Although for what it's worth, MD currently has Duke going in the late 6th.
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
Although for what it's worth, MD currently has Duke going in the late 6th.

I could see him falling as far as the early 6th round or being picked in the middle 4th round. You never know, a lot of people had Culliver as a 5th or 6th rounder on their boards.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
Although for what it's worth, MD currently has Duke going in the late 6th.

I could see him falling as far as the early 6th round or being picked in the middle 4th round. You never know, a lot of people had Culliver as a 5th or 6th rounder on their boards.

I guess my question stands then. If Rambo is projected in, say, the 3rd or 4th, and Duke is 4th-6th, who would you take if both are on the board at 131 and you want another S?
After watching the highlights he look like a smart player football smarts My be a later RD.
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
I guess my question stands then. If Rambo is projected in, say, the 3rd or 4th, and Duke is 4th-6th, who would you take if both are on the board at 131 and you want another S?

That's a tough one. I like both of them as prospects, but if it comes down to taking Rambo in the early 3rd or Williams in the late 5th....then Williams, definitely.
  • Wodwo
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I know it was just a highlight reel, but I like his recovery speed and he seems to play the ball.
Personally I'd take JJ Wilcox over Duke in the mid rounds, I think he has more potential. I wouldn't be mad with Duke though
Originally posted by 49ers808:
Personally I'd take JJ Wilcox over Duke in the mid rounds, I think he has more potential. I wouldn't be mad with Duke though

I would take JJ Wilcox too, the difference is that you'll be picking Wilcox anywhere from between the late 2nd round to the middle 3rd round while Williams can be had 2-3 rounds later.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by 49ers808:
Personally I'd take JJ Wilcox over Duke in the mid rounds, I think he has more potential. I wouldn't be mad with Duke though

I would take JJ Wilcox too, the difference is that you'll be picking Wilcox anywhere from between the late 2nd round to the middle 3rd round while Williams can be had 2-3 rounds later.

Hypothetical for you. Say I get my wish and our new starting FS is either Vaccaro, Cyprien, or Thomas.

Would Duke be a good pairing with one of those guys in the post-Whitner era?
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
Hypothetical for you. Say I get my wish and our new starting FS is either Vaccaro, Cyprien, or Thomas.

Would Duke be a good pairing with one of those guys in the post-Whitner era?

I don't think Cyprien is a free safety at the next level. I think he'd be a good strong safety with Williams being able to play free safety due to his speed and coverage skills. One thing that really catches my attention with Williams is that the guy is terrific in man coverage, against slot receivers as well as tight-ends. If the 49ers were to draft say......Wilcox and Williams, that would be almost like having 4 cornerbacks out on the field in a base defensive set. Williams has played cornerback and has good agility for a safety while Wilcox showed tremendous coverage ability and very quick feet after only one season at safety.
I love this guy as early as the late 4th round.. I have him in my last mock in the 5th round I think.. I got hammered for starting a thread saying Whitner needs to be replaced, but this guy is a much better option than Whitner IMO.. Maybe not starting next season as a rookie, but Duke is just as good against the run as Whitner, with much better coverage skills
[ Edited by Cooper22 on Mar 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM ]
You'd have character issues too if you had to live in Reno... Boring as heck out here lol
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
Although for what it's worth, MD currently has Duke going in the late 6th.

I've taken some additional looks at him. He is a riser on my board.

I think the character issues are non-issues. MIP for alcohol and a traffic ticket....

What I'm really big on when I'm watching a safety is how his hips move which IMO is key to change of direction, explosiveness, range ect. As a Safety you have to be able to read and react to the play without losing precious time. Its the main reason I hated Taylor Mays as a safety, his hips were as stiff as they come.

Duke is very flexible at the hips. The way he moves on the field changing directions makes it look effortless. I think he is a bit undersized (I dont know his measurements off hand), but he makes up for it with his agressiveness and he does hit hard.

Upper body looks like he needs more sterngth and has room to grow and fill out his physique. Looks like he is 195-200lbs on tape, should be closer to 210 for his peak.

A big negative for him is he is slow to react to play fakes.