Right before USF linebacker Jacquian Williams pulled off a 36.5-inch vertical leap at his campus pro day for NFL scouts in March, Giants general manager Jerry Reese saw the potential wisdom in drafting an athletic Bulls defender for the second year in a row.
"He said to me, 'I'm going to get you up there with Jason Pierre-Paul for a visit, try to get you all to play together again," said Williams, who was picked by the Giants in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. "I told him I'd love that. I got to visit and was able to meet all the coaches, and they told me they were going to call me, so I always had them on my list."
The Giants used a first-round pick last year on Pierre-Paul, who has already played with Williams at two other stops -- they were stars together at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas in 2008, then signed together and were teammates at USF in 2009. Now, their pro careers will intersect with the Giants.
"I hope that's a blessing," said Williams, who had talked to Pierre-Paul two weeks ago about the possibility of playing together, as well as getting advice on going through the draft and getting ready for his rookie season.
When Williams was in the airport in New York after his visit to the Giants, he made an impromptu decision to buy a Giants shirt in the airport, initially just so he could show his support for Pierre-Paul. It wound up being the first piece of apparel for his new employer.
Williams watched the draft Saturday with his three kids, his girlfriend, his mother, brother and two sisters, and he said the most exciting part of his future in the NFL is knowing the difference that can make in the lives of his children and family.
"Just to be in the NFL, that's what we all dream of," Williams said. "To have a chance to provide for my family and do what I love, it's overwhelming to be able to do that."