Jameson Williams Draft Profile
It is hard to find a player more electric than Jameson Williams in this year’s draft; he is like a new-age electric car that goes from stop to start in milliseconds. If we are looking at Williams like a car, right now he is under repair. In the national championship game against Georgia, Williams tore his ACL. That was in the middle of January which means that he probably won’t be available until the middle of the 2022 regular season. If a team falls in love with Williams and everything he has to offer, then they will wait for him. That is why I believe a playoff team from last year that can afford to wait will take a shot on him. It might take a little while for Williams to be back and running, but he is the type of prospect that you wait for.
Speed, speed, speed, and more speed— that is what sticks out when watching Jameson Williams play football. He is electric; he is the best stop-start receiver in this year’s draft; his acceleration is remarkable. Defenders need to get their hands on him early, or else they have no shot at slowing him down. Most of the time when you think of speedy receivers, you think of the small slot guys, and while Williams is capable of being a premier slot receiver, he is not small. Williams is 6’1 and is a dangerous threat both downfield and in the red zone; there is so much room for Williams to grow as a “big body” receiver on top of being the speed demon that he already is. It is hard to find a better deep threat than Williams; he averaged over 45 yards per touchdown in his final year at Alabama. While defenses will have to keep a safety over Williams at all times, they also can’t give him too much space. His speed really comes out after the catch; he is the fastest guy on the field at all times. There were a handful of times where defenders had the perfect angle to tackle Williams, but just got left behind on the train tracks. Williams’ greatest impact doesn’t even come when the ball is in his hands; he completely opens up his offense. He frees up space and matchups for other receivers to get one-on-ones. Defenses also have to keep a lighter box when Williams is in the game. Once Williams comes back from his injury, I suspect he’ll be the next great receiver to learn from the Alabama tutelage.
The biggest concern with Williams is how he will bounce back from his torn ACL. As a receiver who relies a lot on his speed; this ACL injury is extremely concerning. At the combine, Williams weighed in at 179 lbs. (lost weight post-injury), but I suspect he plays somewhere in the mid 180 lb. range. He looks skinny on the football field and lacks strength. He struggled in terms of blocking and when corners were able to get their hands on him at the line of scrimmage. Once he fully recovers, I would like to see him add muscle so he can’t get neutralized by physical corners. My biggest concern with Williams has to do with the false steps at the top of his routes. You’ll notice that I have a category for speed and control in my rating system; Williams needs to control his speed better at the top of his routes, otherwise, he would have a perfect rating in that category. The addition of strength and control would improve his ability to release off the line of scrimmage. His best release is a basic speed release but has also been able to slide and slap a defender by. He has the technique for what it takes to get a nasty release off the line, he just needs the tools. So to wrap that up, if Williams is able to add more muscle and learn how to control his speed post-ACL recovery, he will be a top ten receiver in the NFL.
Jameson Williams is such a talented receiver and if he can add a few tools to his toolbox, he will be an elite NFL wide receiver. The speed and excitement that comes from his game remind me a lot of Sammy Watkins coming out of Clemson. While both Watkins and Williams are extremely talented, they still need to develop. There is a boom or bust aspect to Williams’ game, but the boom factor should be enough for him to go in the first round. I have a top 20 grade on Williams, but I could see him falling out of the first round due to injury concerns. The 49ers, Bills, and Packers would all be great landing spots for Williams where he can come in right away and be a deep threat. I believe putting Williams in a situation where he doesn’t have to be the number one guy immediately is the best situation for him to eventually bloom into his best self. He is arguably the most exciting player in this year’s draft.
Ability to Separate: 9.25/10
Release/Top of Routes: 5.25/8
Route Running: 6.75/8
Contested Catch: 6.25/8
Hands + Catch Radius: 6.5/8
Speed + Control: 6.75/7
Natural Talent: 5/5
Final Rating: 89
Pro Comparison: Sammy Watkins (Coming out of Clemson)
Team Fits: Bills, 49ers, Packers
Draft Grade: Top 20 player
Draft Projection: Late First - Early Second Round Pick