Aaron Williams was picked 34th overall in the 2011 draft with general manager Buddy Nix saying the Buffalo Bills were getting a second first-round pick. Through six games this year, the cornerback has struggled in his role as starter and if not for the off-season release of Drayton Florence and a lingering knee injury with Terrence McGee, it's fair to say Williams would be further down the depth chart.
In an article for The Buffalo News on Friday, Tim Graham cites website Pro Football Focus who credits Williams with five touchdowns allowed. That is tops in the league and a major reason why fans have been calling for Williams' starting spot.
"I heard about that stat. It got me down for a little bit," Williams told Graham. "But the only stat to worry about is wins and losses. As long as we get wins, that's fine with me."
"You move on to the next week. Those five touchdowns can't come back in the future. It's in the stat book. It is what it is. You learn from it. Things are going to happen. I don't know any cornerback that hasn't been scored on in the NFL."
The Bills reduced his snaps last week as McGee saw 33 snaps to Williams' 39. They pushed McGee so far that he hasn't practiced all week to recover. To his credit, Williams has maintained a team-first attitude.
"Whatever's going to help the team to get a win," Williams said. "Coaches know what decisions need to be made, and if they feel like I haven't been productive and I need to split time, if they feel the need for someone else to start besides me, then that's the way it needs to be. I'm not going to complain about it. I'm not a selfish player. It just lets me know I need to work harder."
Last year's seventh-round pick, Justin Rogers, took as many snaps as Williams on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. But he's been limited to the nickel role and Leodis McKelvin has been exclusively in the dime package. If the Bills had a better option than WIlliams they likely would have turned in that direction already.
"I know the last few weeks have been rough for me, but it's part of the NFL, man," said Williams. "Those guys are pros, too. They're going to make plays. Nobody's going to be perfect. It's a learning experience."
He is only 22 years old and will take his lumps, but 2012 first-round pick Stephon Gilmore has played virtually every snap of every game and while he's given up big plays, he has also been good against the run and flashed great instincts. His problems have come mainly from blown assignments, something that can be corrected by acclimating. Williams has looked overmatched.
When the Bills picked Gilmore to pair with Williams, many hoped that the duo could lock down the outside for a decade with Rogers and 2012 fourth-round pick Ron Brooks providing depth. After a limited look into that future, it's hard to see that coming to fruition.