The first three seasons of Joejuan Williams’ career were mostly disappointing, and it appears Year 4 will be more of the same for the defensive back. According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Williams will miss the remainder of the 2022 season because of a shoulder injury.
Williams, 24, hurt his shoulder in the New England Patriots’ preseason opener versus the New York Giants. The expectation is that he will be moved to injured reserve ahead of the roster cutdown deadline on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Williams originally joined the Patriots as a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. New England traded up 11 positions to No. 45 to bring the big-bodied defender in, obviously enamored with his athletic potential and development in college. Through three seasons at the pro level, however, Williams has failed to meet expectations and has mostly disappointed as a role player within the Patriots’ secondary.
All in all, he has seen action in a combined 38 out of 51 possible regular season and playoff games since his arrival in Foxborough. He did have some positive moments both on defense and special teams but earning regular playing time has been a problem for him, as has making consistent contributions to the team.
Williams has yet to register a takeaway while allowing opposing quarterbacks to post a 113.4 passer rating when targeting him in coverage. As a result, he entered this year’s training camp firmly on the roster bubble and as a realistic candidate to be released at one point.
Now, however, the Vanderbilt product will likely remain with the club for at least one more season. If he is indeed sent to injured reserve, the Patriots’ roster would come down to 86 active players — only one above the league-mandated 85-man roster limit to be reached by Tuesday afternoon.
Williams would also become the second player on a season-ending reserve list. Second-year kicker Quinn Nordin was released and reverted to reserve/non-football injury in mid-June.