Miami football S James Williams top 20 2024 NFL Draft-eligible players

Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Tom Fornelli of  CBS Sports named safety James Williams as the sole Miami football player in his “Early look at the top 20 NFL Draft-eligible college football players taking the field in 2023.” Williams and fellow Miami safety Kamren Kinchens return for the Miami football team as starters entering the 2023 season.

Williams was the higher-ranked player coming out of high school, but Kinchens was named an All-American in 2022. When he signed with Miami out of American Heritage in the 2021 class, Williams was the 15th-ranked prospect nationally, the top safety and fourth in Florida in the 247 Sports composite rankings.

The NFL Mock Draft Database projects Williams as the 83rd overall prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft with a 54.5 percent chance to get selected in the first round. Williams has been ranked as high as ninth in the 2024 draft as recently as early December. Kinchens and Williams will be one of the best safety tandems nationally in 2023.

Williams showed his ability as a playmaker in 2022 with seven pass breakups and one interception. After seven starts as a true freshman in 2021, Williams became a mainstay on the Miami defense in 2022. The best game for Williams in 2022 came with seven tackles and two pass breakups versus Texas A&M.

"James Williams, S, Miami: In a season of few silver linings for the Miami Hurricanes, Williams was a beacon of hope. He was tied for the team lead with 59 tackles and was all over the place. The question will be whether Williams projects as a safety or linebacker at the next level. He’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds.His stock suffered this year, but I suspect a lot of it was due to what was around him. If Miami rebounds in 2023, don’t be surprised if he enters the first-round conversation next year.”"

There has been a lot of discussion about what position Williams should be playing. Williams is often compared to former Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The Miami star position would be perfect for Williams, but he has primarily played safety at Miami. Miami is woefully thin at safety entering the 2023 season.

Next. Miami adds critical depth and experience with CB Roberts. dark

Kinchens, Williams and Markeith Williams are the only scholarship safeties Miami has entering the 2023 season. Miami needs Kinchens and James Williams to stay healthy in 2023. James Williams needs a breakout season like Kinchens had in 2023 to drastically improve his draft stock from where he is currently projected.