Seven rounds came and went without a player from a Historically Black College and University selected during the 2021 NFL Draft.
Joshua Williams put a stop to that streak rather quickly on Saturday.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Williams, a Fayetteville State defensive back, in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday in Las Vegas with the 135th-overall pick. In all, four HBCU products were selected on the day.
A 6-foot-2, 195 pound cornerback, Williams has good size, but his 4.51 40-yard speed isn't ideal. Still, he's produced, earning first-team HBCU All-American accolades and an invitation to the Senior Bowl. That came after he tallied 31 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups in nine games during his 2021 senior season for the Broncos.
Prior to Williams' selection on Saturday, an HBCU player hadn't been drafted since Tennessee State's Lachavious Simmons was selected in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears in 2020. Williams is the highest HBCU selection since the year prior, when the Houston Texans grabbed Alabama State's Tytus Howard in the 2019 first round.
Seven selections after Williams, South Carolina State's Decobie Durant became the second HBCU draft choice of the day when the reigning Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams took him with pick No. 142 -- also in the fourth round. Durant is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound corner with 4.38 40-yard dash speed who tallied 38 tackles, three interceptions and 12 pass breakups as a senior, garnering Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Jackson State, which is coached by Deion Sanders, had edge rusher James Houston drafted in the sixth round with pick No. 217 by the Detroit Lions. Houston, a second-team All-American, had an eye-popping 16.5 sacks in 13 games in 2021. Houston was the first draftee for Sanders.
For the second time in three years, the Bears used a seventh-round choice on an HBCU product, drafting offensive tackle Ja'Tyre Carter out of Southern University with pick No. 226. The 6-foot-3, 311-pound Carter was a Senior Bowl participant.