One of the biggest personnel decisions that the Buffalo Bills made this off-season was to slide Aaron Williams to safety. The 2011 second-round pick out of Texas had struggled mightily in his first two pro seasons as a cornerback, but he was also well-regarded as a safety prospect during his draft year, and Mike Pettine and the Bills' new defensive coaches made the switch accordingly.
Two days into the team's mandatory minicamp, Williams has run with the ones at safety (with some second-team work mixed in as well), has played a little corner on the side, has recorded an interception each day, and is impressing Pettine early in his positional transition.
"I'd say he's ahead of schedule," Pettine said of Williams' progress on Wednesday. "It's a lot to take in... Being a safety is such a different world from being a corner. Now, there are a lot of plays where he ends up locked on a guy where his corner instincts, his corner ability can take over, but for the most part it is a lot of learning, it's a lot of communication, and I think he's ahead of schedule of where we thought he would be. He's flashed the things we saw in him as far as being a safety."
We always advise caution on allowing levels of optimism and/or pessimism to waver greatly based on padless spring practices, but it's noteworthy that Williams seems to be comfortably making his positional switch - and is performing well thus far in his new duties. Williams is one of the more important draft picks made within the past four years, and if he can become a major contributor (if not a playmaker) in his new role, it will help a defense in transition immensely.