by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
When New England took Malcolm Williams in the seventh round (219 overall), quite a few draft followers were surprised. That group included Williams himself.
The Texas Christian defensive back played two seasons for the Horned Frogs at safety and cornerback. A successful pro day put him on the NFL radar.
This past weekend, Williams spoke to PD about his unusual route to Foxboro, what he hopes to bring to the team, and his TCU teammate and fellow Patriots rookie Marcus Cannon.
Let’s talk about the draft and where you were when you heard that New England had picked you.
Actually, me, my wife and my daughter, we were at the house, and we were watching Netflix. We weren’t really watching – I was keeping up with the draft on my phone, but we weren’t watching on TV. About pick 216, 217, Bill Belichick called me and he let me know that I was a part of the Patriot family.
So I was just chilling in the living room… I really wasn’t expecting it; I was just waiting on a lot of my friends to go who are also in the draft. I wasn’t expecting a call, and they gave me a shout. It was just – it was crazy.
Since then, have you talked to them? Have you gotten a sense of what they liked about you to pick you in the seventh?
Oh, no. The only contact I had with them was the day of the draft. That’s the last little bit of contact I had with them.
So, had you had any contact with the Patriots or any other teams prior to the draft?
No. I just heard word that the Texans were looking at me and the Patriots were looking at me. That’s really all I heard word of. But other than that, no.
Well, speaking of Texas, it seems like your journey to the pros was kind of unusual. Why don’t you talk a little bit about starting out at – is it South View Prairie?
South Grand Prairie, yeah.
South Grand Prairie, and your trip eventually to TCU and in the end to Foxboro?
Well, I started out at South Grand Prairie as a sophomore, and I played my sophomore, junior, senior year up there in football. And my senior year, I ended up becoming a 5A Defensive Player of the Year for the state of Texas… And then, I had a scholarship to Oklahoma – that’s who I ended up signing with out of high school was OU. I failed this thing called the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills) test we have down here, it’s the entry-level test for the high school. So in the summer of ’07 I got my GED and enrolled at the junior college, so I sat the ’06 season out. I worked at the DFW airport.
I worked there for six months. I was a bar back up there… The first few months, I didn’t know what I was going to do, because after I failed that last TAKS test, I was just stuck. I had to end up moving back home with my mom, and I went ahead and got me a job.
And Brad Smiley from Trinity Valley Community College, he gave me a call, and he was like, “I heard you don’t have a family.” And I said not right now. He said you have a family up here in Trinity Valley. And he explained to me what it was, where it was, Athens, Texas. So that’s how I ended up signing with Trinity Valley Community College to play my JUCO ball.
So you were working as a bar back at a bar at Dallas Fort Worth airport?
Yeah. From January until about June when I enrolled at summer school at Trinity Valley of ’07.
What was your day like? You just – were you working out? Were you planning on a future in football? What were you thinking?
Oh, I always worked out. I had a membership to a 24-hour fitness club, so I was always constantly working out. That call just came out of nowhere, at a time that it was really needed. Because I really didn’t know what I was going to do… I ended up at Trinity Valley, and from there, (Coach) Jarett Anderson from TCU, he was recruiting me, and he came up and got me into TCU.
I played two years there, mostly special teams. I didn’t play much defense, because I switched from safety my junior year to corner my senior year. It was learning back and forth, and I had people who were not necessarily more athletic than me, but more experienced, who knew the defense more. That’s why I didn’t get very much playing time at defense, but I did what I had to do on special teams, and I worked really hard and trained for my TCU pro day. I did pretty well at that, and that’s what I think I (got) drafted off of, pretty much.
When you were training for the pro day, was there any particular aspect of those drills that you were preparing for, or just everything in general?
Oh, it was just everything in general. Mostly, though, our strength and conditioning coach said the thing you need to worry about is your 40 (yard dash). Just get your 40 down. Your 40 needs to be low to be successful at the next level… So that’s what we worked on mostly, our 40s, our starts and just speed in general.
Do you think learning both safety and corner has helped you understand defense better overall?
Oh, yes sir. Most definitely. Because when I played safety, I would give a call out to the corner and really not know what he was doing until I moved to corner. Then, when that safety gave me a call, I was like, okay, it all comes into play right now. I see how it works. So, yeah, it does help me, playing safety one year and then corner the next year. It helped me out and helped me understand the defense more.
How do you – I know it’s tough to answer, because you haven’t really spoken to anybody – but what do you see as your role at the next level?
Wherever Bill Belichick wants me to play, I want to play. If he just wants me to run down on kickoffs and make tackles, hey, I’m going to do that. It doesn’t matter. If he wants me to block on punts, even return a punt, return a kickoff, block on kickoff: it doesn’t matter, wherever they put me. I’m a football player. I just want to play wherever, it doesn’t matter. Whatever my role is, then I’m going to fulfill it to the max.
Before you got the call from New England, you weren’t expecting to be drafted. Did you have a plan for afterward? Were you going to wait for calls, or maybe look at other leagues?
Well, throughout the whole process, me and my dad were looking for CFL tryouts or UFL tryouts, and I ended up attending three CFL tryouts and one UFL tryout. I did pretty well at that, so I was expecting if the draft didn’t work out, then I knew I’d get a call from one of these CFL teams because I did pretty well at all the combines I went to.
I mean, I had a Plan A and B going pretty well for me. It just so happens Plan A worked out. (Laughs.) I got drafted. So, I’m pretty happy about that.
Now, I know you were defense and Marcus Cannon was offense, but what can you tell Patriots fans about your new New England teammate?
Oh, Marcus Cannon, he’s a leader, he’s a hard worker. He’s going to work hard at all times. And he has his moments where he can be a big kid, but at the same time, he has his serious moments. He’s a fun character. There’s really nothing negative I can say about him – all positive stuff. So I’m just looking forward to playing with him again.
Excellent. That’s great. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you up there, Malcolm. I hope it happens soon.
All right. Thank you.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org