Just hours after top pick Marcell Dareus signed his rookie contract, the player taken right after him in the 2011 NFL draft by Buffalo signed as well. Second-round pick Aaron Williams got his paperwork done just before 5 pm at One Bills Drive Friday and was quickly headed up to St. John Fisher in the hopes of arriving in time for evening meetings on training camp report day.
For Williams signing his contract carried more weight for him than draft weekend.
"It's a lot more exciting because you're signing and now you know you're officially part of the team," Williams told Buffalobills.com. "I'm really happy and excited to be with a great organization like Buffalo."
The cornerback, who was taken with the 34th overall pick last April was initially expected to challenge for a top three corner role in George Edwards' defense as a rookie. However, an offseason that deprived rookies of participating in spring workouts, puts the pressure on Williams and the other newcomers to be quick studies when it comes to the playbook to give themselves a chance to compete.
That's why Williams wanted to make sure he did not miss a single practice at training camp.
"I didn't have any OTAs or rookie camps so it's really important for me to get out there and learn as much as possible and get with the guys," he said. "I'm really excited to go out there and play and show everybody what I've got."
"I know that he's played at a top notch university. I know that he's been coached well. We know he's very capable of learning," said Bills secondary coach George Catavolos. "The fact is how fast he picks up the system, techniques and things of that (nature). That's on his speed and us giving him enough reps at it to be effective enough where he can work into being a starter or into a backup situation."
Catavolos does feel that competing for the nickel corner job with incumbent Reggie Corner is realistic in this training camp.
"I liked his size, his ball skills," he said. "I liked the way he challenged receivers. I liked his playmaking ability. I saw him in the nickel position and he did an outstanding job playing the slot receiver. We'll put him at the corner position and let him play and then work into our nickel package and I think that'll be a very good fit for him."
"I'll do whatever I can to help the team out," Williams said. "That's all I can do. I'll do whatever the coaches tell me to do and help the team get more wins. That's why they drafted me. They have high expectations so I'll just go out there and do my best."
Williams is the eighth draft pick to sign, leaving Buffalo with only one unsigned draft choice, third-round pick Kelvin Sheppard. The Bills first training camp practice is Saturday at 3:20 pm.