Bengals pick off Terps' M. Williams

Free safety is selected in second round

Starks claimed by Titans in 3rd

Pro Football

April 25, 2004|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

It's not that Madieu Williams and Chad Scott are twins, but the coincidences between them are quite striking.

Both got their starts at Towson University in the defensive backfield, before transferring to Maryland. And with Williams being selected in the second round of yesterday's NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, joining Scott in the AFC North, the coincidences come full circle.

"That's quite a coincidence," said Williams, the 24th pick in the second round and the 56th overall selection, a pick Cincinnati obtained last week in a deal with New England for running back Corey Dillon. "Hopefully, I'll have the same career that Chad has had over the last couple of years."

Scott, a cornerback, has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers since being a first-round pick (24th overall) in 1997.

Surprisingly, Williams was chosen ahead of fellow Maryland defender, defensive tackle Randy Starks, who was taken by the Tennessee Titans in the third round as the 71st overall pick, the eighth pick of the round.

Still remaining on the draft board, presumably to be taken in today's later rounds, from Maryland are receivers Jafar Williams and Latrez Harrison, running back Bruce Perry, linebacker Leon Joe and quarterback Scott McBrien.

Madieu Williams, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound Seabrook native, transferred to Maryland after two years at Towson, and started all 26 games at free safety in College Park, earning second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors both years.

Williams had seven interceptions and 163 tackles in his two Maryland seasons, and was thought to be a late-round draft possibility after the season.

However, Williams lowered his 40-yard time from 4.5 to 4.46 and moved his way up the draft board with exceptional workouts at College Park and with a solid performance at the Senior Bowl.

Indeed, while a number of prospective draftees were likely huddled around television sets or partying yesterday, Williams said he was in his scheduled Pilates class working out.

"A lot of guys in Division I football and everyone in the National Football League is talented," said Williams. "The one way you can separate yourself from the pack is through hard work and dedication that you show off the field. That's one of the things that I have used, my hard work and my work ethic on and off the field."

Williams, who may be paired with former Raven Kim Herring in Cincinnati, said he isn't sure whether he will play free safety, the position he played with the Terps, or strong safety.

"Right now, whether it's strong or free is really not a priority of mine," said Williams. "I'm just looking to go in there and play safety, whether it's free or strong. Realistically, I plan on contributing with the Cincinnati Bengals, whether that's starting or as a role player, whatever that role is. I want to contribute."

In what was deemed to be a weak year for defensive linemen, eight defensive tackles were taken before Starks, who left Maryland after three seasons and could not be reached for comment last night.

The 6-4, 314-pound native of Waldorf started his last 27 games at Maryland, earning All-Atlantic Coast Conference and second team Sporting News All-America honors, and was thought to be a possible late first-round pick on some draft boards.

Indeed, the Ravens, picking 51st overall in the second round, bypassed Starks for Dwan Edwards of Oregon State, amid reports that teams were scared off by a supposed lack of intensity in his junior season.

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