First off, let me say that I am probably the least biggest fan of PJ Williams at ASC. Yes, his play improved last year, but consistency has never been his thing. The first month was pretty rough on PJ Williams as he struggled to adjust, getting beat several times and having to grab and hold. His play improved after the first month but again his struggle to be consistent was apparent. Now coming off a year in which he ranked 107th on PFF, which is his worst grade ever, the Saints targeted a steal and a potential replacement as the backup to Patrick Robinson. That man is Chauncey Gardner Johnson. This is a guy who many consider a first round talent (including most of us at ASC) that fell to the Saints all the way in the 4th round. At Florida in 2018 he had 4 picks, two of which he returned for touchdowns. His ball skills were impressive playing as the safety/slot guy/box blitzer. Also, he showed his ability to stop the run recording 9.0 TFL and 71 total. CGJ displayed an ability to blitz off the edge as he added 3 sacks this past year, and showed even when he can’t sack the QB, he can continue to disrupt things as well, registering 2 QB hurries.
So far, all reports coming out of the Saints early camps is that CGJ has been ballin out and making plays on the defensive side of the ball. This does not play well for PJ, as I previously stated, he can never seem to be the most consistent on the defensive side. CGJ will always have an edge in stopping the run and his ball skills seem to indicate that he makes plays off the ball better as well. To me this battle, to be the backup to Patrick Robinson in the slot, is CGJ’s to lose at the moment. All reports is that even though CGJ has been moved around a lot in different positions, he has found rhythm best at slot corner which could bode bad news for PJ Williams going forward. I personally am excited, as the Saints have been missing an impact guy at safety who can do multiple things really well since Malcolm Jenkins. With the return of Patrick Robinson we could also see the Saints move CGJ around, which in turn could lead to the defense continuing to cause turnovers at a high frequency. CGJ, Marshon, and Patrick are all good enough ball readers and love to make plays on the ball, that the defense can continue causing turnovers. Throw in continued development from Marcus Williams and that could have the potential of a top 3 to 5 secondary right there. We will continue to fill in the blanks as more reports continue to come out, but at the moment all signs point to Chauncey Gardner Johnson replacing PJ Williams as the backup slot corner and all around playmaker.
Follow Hayden on Twitter for more sports content @ThatBoyKlink