Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams entered the College Foootball Playoff as the hottest name at the position in draft circles, and rightfully so. After all, he had a splendid season with the Crimson Tide. He caught 79 balls for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns after having just nine catches for 154 yards in two scores playing behind Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave with the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2020. However the Jameson Williams 2022 NFL Draft Profile is vastly different than what could have been.
Then came the ACL tear.
— David J. Chao - ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) January 11, 2022
Prior to the injury, Williams had vaulted himself above his former teammates as the WR1 in the 2022 NFL Draft. Now, there seem to be some questions, in a deep wide receiver class, as to whether Williams will land in the first round.
Let's take a look at the Jameson Williams 2022 NFL Draft profile and try to determine whether a case can be made for Williams to still go in the first 32 selections.
Jameson Williams 2022 NFL Draft Profile
Williams' top trait is his overall explosiveness. His top-end speed is arguably second to none and he gets to top speed in a heartbeat, leaving defenders in the dust.
Throughout the 2021-22 season, Williams showed a knack for taking even the most routine of slant routes to the house, igniting the Alabama offense.
His penchant for the big play wasn't just as a receiver, however. Williams also took two kickoffs back for scores and averaged a whopping 35.2 yards per return. While returning kicks probably won't be his role in the NFL, teams can put him back there if there is a need for a spark or a big play.
Williams uses his explosiveness to his advantage not only with the ball in his hands but in his route running as well. He is so quick in and out of his cuts that rounded-off routes are non-existent in his route tree. Williams snaps in and out of cuts in a blink of an eye and makes it very difficult on opposing corners.
He is also fantastic at climbing vertically by using his speed and also changing speeds with hesitations in his routes, like a heady point guard, and using his quick burst acceleration to get back to top-end speed quicker than the defender can.
Defenses will have to respect his explosiveness so they will have to give him plenty of space at the line of scrimmage, allowing him to showcase his fantastic route running in short and intermediate routes.
Drops are not something you see often with Williams. He very rarely lets the ball get into his body and uses his hands to pluck the ball out of the air.
Williams' explosiveness, believe it or not, also plays into his hands, and his ball skills are a plus trait. He very rarely breaks stride on an accurately thrown ball and continues at top speed which allows him to break off big gains after the catch.
Williams is also very good at tracking the deep ball and adjusting to a poorly thrown deep ball.
He didn't make a ton of contested catches at Alabama, however, but there was very rarely a corner that could stay with him, so his opportunities were low in those situations.
The obvious question mark and the one that has Jameson Williams bordering on being a first-round pick is the ACL injury. The good news, however, is Williams is making a strong recovery and is expected to be 100% back in five to seven months, according to Adam Schefter.
Alabama standout WR Jameson Williams is said to be ahead of schedule in his rehab roughly six weeks after knee surgery, per his doctors.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2022
It only takes one team to trust that timeline for Williams to still go in the first round.
At the NFL Combine, Williams measured in at 6'1'' and just 179 pounds. If bigger corners in the NFL are able to get their hands on him at the line of scrimmage, Williams will have to have the ability to get off press coverage. He has the quickness, burst, and technical skills to avoid being pressed, but in the instances that a corner does get a good jam on him at the point of attack, he will have to be able to get off of it.
Williams will also need to be able to run-block in the NFL. He showed a willingness to do so in college but it was more of a getting in a guy's way than an impact block.
Jameson Williams 2022 NFL Draft Projection
WR4, late first round.
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