Most fans are satisfied with Marcus Williams's first year with the Baltimore Ravens. The starting safety missed sometime in the middle of the season, but he finished strong, and when he was on the field, you could tell he was making a difference. Safety is one of the more challenging positions, but we will try to contextualize his year with advanced stats.
Baltimore Ravens advanced stats review: Marcus Williams
For this, we will not only look at him compared to other safeties but also free safeties. Williams spent 453 snaps as a deep field safety, which is a different role altogether from a box safety. So, we will only look at players with 300 free safety snaps or more. Is he one of the best safeties in the game?
Yards per snap
Marcus Williams allows 0.3 yards per coverage snap, ranking 9th in the NFL out of 60 qualified safeties. Some names around him include Marcus Maye, Quandre Diggs, Eddie Jackson, Jordan Poyer, Tyrann Mathieu, and Devin McCourty. Seeing the names around him makes you think he is in good company. Even more impressive is that it was 0.17 last year, which would have led the NFL this season. So, even in a down year for Williams, when he had to come back from injury, he was still top 10 in this category.
Yards per target
Marcus Williams allows 5.7 yards per target which has him seventh in the NFL. With Mathieu, Maye, Jackson, Kareem Jackson, Justin Reid, and Juan Thornhill on this list, you can see that this is another one where he is in the right company. In this area, his yards per target dropped from seven, and it was even higher in 2020. His higher yards per snap is simply because he was targeted more in Baltimore, despite having fewer snaps last season.
Yards per completion
Marcus Williams ranked fourth amongst these safeties in yards per completion. His yards per completion dropped from past years as well. Some of this can be traced back to his role. The Ravens used him as a free safety, but the Saints had him in their exclusively. Baltimore moved him around a bit more.
Last year Marcus Williams played in the box 18.8%. In 2021, his rate was 8.5%. To be fair, his career rate was 11.8%, but without 2022 with the Ravens, he only played 10.9% of his snaps in the box. So, it was an increase of 8.7%, but that is close to double the rate. This is why he was targeted more, but also why the completions and targets that he did give up went for lower yards.
Lastly, with a 14% forced incompletion rate, Marcus Williams was 11th best in the NFL. Last year his rate was only 6%, and the year before it was only 4%. This could go back to him playing in the box more, but he also was just a bigger playmaker.
This review has to be exciting for Baltimore Ravens fans. Essentially, the Ravens are using him more versatilely, and it is paying off with quality play and more chances for big plays. It will be interesting to see how he looks in his second season on the team, fully healthy, with Kyle Hamtilon and Roquan Smith integrated into the defense as well.