When safety Shawn Williams was selected by the Bengals in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he was already well aware of the preference the Bengals have shown towards former Georgia Bulldogs.
"Add me to the list of Bengals from Georgia," Williams said. "When I came in my freshman year, I remember Geno being positive and being a role model for me to look up to. Same thing goes with A.J. Green - he was here my freshman year," Williams said, according to a transcript. "Me and Orson came in together, so it's amazing that we can be teammates again."
The Bengals' propensity toward drafting Georgia players has become more apparent over the past several years. Of course, there are high-profile picks on draft day like first-rounder A.J. Green, and Geno Atkins is creating headlines after making a name for himself after a 12.5 sack season in 2012, but digging deeper on the Bengals active roster and you'll uncover seven former Georgia players.
Williams is the fifth Georgia player drafted by the Bengals since 2010, all of which were drafted no later than the fourth round. The Bengals might as well be a recruitment banner for the Georgia Bulldogs. When asked about Cincinnati's appreciation for Georgia players, Marvin Lewis praised the no-nonsense attitude instilled with them.
"Well, I think the coaching staff there under Ccach Mark Richt has done a great job teaching them to play aggressive, attacking football. Whether it be offense, defense, they're all no-nonsense guys, so we really like their work ethic, how they handle and carry themselves as people and that says a lot about the program."
Lewis also pointed out that drafting Georgia players has snow balled a bit after observing how quickly new players have adapted to the NFL when playing alongside former Bulldogs.
"I think you guys would agree that they're personable players, they're always approachable, they've always been trained the right way and they do a great job of that down there. It's good to get another Bulldog and we have a good group of Bulldogs here and he becomes comfortable right away with guys he knows and has played with."
Williams has an opportunity to play opposite Reggie Nelson, but he'll be battling with Taylor Mays, Jeromy Miles, and Tony Dye for the job. Regardless, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer feels optimistic about Williams even if he doesn't take the field immediately.