KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New Chiefs cornerback Joshua Williams comes from Fayetteville State and was also the first HBCU draft pick of the 2022 NFL Draft and one of four taken overall, the most since 2015.
“It means a lot. It definitely speaks to the exposure we’ve been getting and also to the hard work that I’ve been putting in. Just trying to create a name for myself,” Williams said.
I’m glad that it all paid off and I’m glad that all of these things came to fruition and I’m glad to be a Kansas City Chief.”
While Williams represents his HBCU and others across the nation, he knows this is just the first step in accomplishing his goals set for the bigger picture.
“I love all HBCU’s and I’m very proud of where I came from, but I know at this time, at this level, nobody really cares where you came from.”
He knows it’s all about what he does on the field and how he carries himself off of it.
“It’s all about results, so I’m focusing on that, being a professional, prideful of where I came from and have experienced everything I can, blessed to be where I am and experienced everything I have. At the same time, I’m very humbled and eager to fit in here.”
And just like the Chiefs were the first under Lloyd Wells to draft talent from HBCU’s, the Chiefs saw plenty of potential in Williams, despite him playing in Division II.
“We ended up getting a Top 30 visit and that’s where a lot of the talks got going and you know they were just getting deep into the film with me, telling me how they feel about me. And, you know, they were definitely interested and they were going to try to make a play to get me. And they definitely did that.”
Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach also sees the talent in Williams as he described what caught their eye on the new draft pick.
“What stood out about him first, were the pro-day and the combine work. I think when you go back to the Senior Bowl, it’s always encouraging to see a guy struggle – I think he struggled early on – he looked like he didn’t belong there. But as the week went on, you saw that grit and you saw that toughness play out. He’s a big corner, he’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s got size. And size and length you can’t coach. We just think he has a real shot,” Veach said.
And that’s the biggest take away. A real shot. HBCUs and kids considering HBCUs out of high school realize they have a shot to pursue their NFL dreams.
There’s also more exposure than ever for HBCU football players.
Deion Sanders, Eddie George and Hue Jackson all have NFL experience as players or coaches, Fred McNair and Connell Maynor have played quarterback in Arena Football and new HBCU hires have sparked viewership.
“I’m just blessed, man, blessed, to have the opportunity to play there, blessed to be where I am now. It’s all just a blessing, truly,” said Williams.