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Jameson Williams - 2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile

Jameson Williams fantasy football rankings rookies wide receivers NFL draft sleepers

The 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile series features prominent 2022 NFL Draft prospects with film analysis and scouting insights. I have experience working in college football and have been studying the NFL Draft for over 15 years. My analysis is based on film study and analytics. So far this season, I have written up profiles on Mississippi QB Matt Corral, Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder, Ohio State WR Chris Olave, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks, USC WR Drake London, Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson, Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett, Liberty QB Malik Willis, and North Carolina QB Sam Howell.

A common misconception about the NFL Draft is that the college and pro games are very similar. They are not. Besides the obvious difference in speed and skill level, a college field has different hash mark distances and different rules. There are specific schemes and plays that NFL teams copy from college and vice versa. But the differences between the two are understated in NFL Draft coverage. There's a reason many highly-productive college players are not considered legitimate professionals.

To that end, scouting prospects is not just about evaluating college performance, it’s about projecting traits that translate to the next level. This is not limited to just physical traits. There are certain football traits that are evident in college film and will translate to the pro game. We will continue our 2022 Prospect Profile series with Alabama WR Jameson Williams.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best NFL Series, MLB Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Jameson Williams - NFL Rookie Profile

Jameson Williams is a game-breaking WR prospect with blazing speed. He tore his ACL in the National Championship game and was unable to run a 40 or work out for scouts during the pre-draft process. Williams is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery and expects to be ready for training camp. Williams started his college career at Ohio State, where he was unable to crack a loaded WR rotation. He transferred to Alabama, and in his one season for the Crimson Tide, produced as one of the best WRs in the country. Williams had 79 catches for 1572 yards and 15 touchdowns on 19.9 yards per catch in 2021, adding two kick return touchdowns on just 10 returns. In today's sports world, a torn ACL is hardly a death sentence, so the team that drafts him may get a lucky injury discount. Williams has a legitimate claim for the WR1 spot in this class. Let's dive into the film.

 

Game-Breaking Speed

Williams didn't get to run a 40 at the combine, but I doubt the NFL scouts care that much. There's no question his speed will play at the next level. Williams was dynamic on deep posts and routinely ran away from defenders in the SEC.

The clip below shows him gaining five yards of separation behind the entire LSU secondary. LSU DBs are typically pretty fast.

The clip below highlights more blazing speed from Williams, with an example of quickness at the line of scrimmage as well. Miami chooses to press Williams as the point man on the bunch, and Jameson is able to release inside untouched, stack the defender, and explode away to the corner. He ended up scoring on this play even though the backside safety had an angle. Williams is an angle killer in the open field.

Williams is also super twitchy as a route-runner. He can handle all types of breakpoints and his sudden explosiveness absolutely translates to the next level. He can be a dynamite route-runner with some refinement. Keep in mind he played just one year in Alabama's offense.

The clip below shows a stutter-and-go that highlights his ability to sink his hips and pound the ground with his feet, setting up the CB to then sprint away.

Williams had a fun battle against possible first-round pick Kaiir Elam of Florida. Elam got the better of Williams on multiple occasions, but the clip below shows an easy win after another successful inside release against press. Notice the quick feet and loose hips at the top of the route to get a full two yards of separation on a short curl route.

 

Hands

Some draft analysts have questioned Williams' hands, and point to his six drops in 2021 as a negative. While there are instances of dropped passes on film, Williams still caught 79 passes in his first season as a featured starter. Furthermore, drops are overrated when evaluating NFL WR play. I prefer to look at the type of catches players can make when evaluating hands, rather than focusing on the rare few they dropped.

Does Williams sometimes let the ball into his body? Yes. Is that a huge negative? In my opinion, it's not, as long as he shows the ability to extend when necessary. The clip below shows him using his body to secure the catch. Would you say this rep shows translatable catching skills? I would, especially when you look at his production and profile at a macro level.

The clip below shows crazy reaction speed and great hands to leap sideways and secure the touchdown.

Then there's the clip below, a ridiculously strong catch in traffic with two defenders draped all over him. I have zero concerns with Williams' ability to catch the football.

 

Inconsistencies and Areas to Improve

Williams is supremely talented but not a perfect prospect by any stretch. He needs two things. One, more experience. Two, added functional strength. There is no reason to believe he can't gain experience and strength early in his NFL career. To be thorough, we can still critique his mistakes, even as a green player.

The clip below shows a poor rep in terms of tracking the football. Williams has separation, and I have no issue with the subtle push-off, but it's just a clear misjudgment of the ball. He should get to the spot and come down with this.

The clip below shows a lack of functional strength to get his arms out of the defender's contact. Whether his feet get tripped or not, it's a well-thrown ball that a fast receiver needs to be able to run under. Williams could get the CB's hands off with strong handwork in the middle of the route.

In the NFL, everyone is fast. Getting five yards behind college DBs is fun, but pro defenses are able to scheme and play deep enough that it's fair to wonder how often Williams will be able to take the top off. It's probably not worth using a first-round pick on a guy whose only real skill is running behind everyone, so Williams' ability to develop into an outside WR who can win one-on-one will be paramount.

The clip below is a one-on-one vertical against Elam and a clear losing rep. First, Williams takes way too long at the line of scrimmage and doesn't even move Elam. Second, Elam pins him to the sideline and doesn't allow Williams to get back on his line, showing superior strength. Lastly, Williams falls to the ground while Elam stays upright, showing the type of balance to play DB in the NFL.

The clip below shows another rep of Williams vs Elam. Here Williams does not sell vertical enough, turning his head back to the QB too early and generally running too high before the break. Another clear win for Elam.

Williams is not much of a threat after the catch unless he has space to run straight away from dudes. The clip below shows one of the few broken tackles I found, and even then highlights some of my concerns with his lack of play strength. He gets pushed back three yards. NFL pursuit is way faster than Indiana.

Finally, Williams' inconsistency in terms of physicality and competitiveness was somewhat puzzling. On one hand, I saw him make a tackle as a gunner on a punt and get fired up. On the other, he was a very poor blocker. Perhaps his lack of blocking was part of the reason he didn't get much playing time at Ohio State.

The clip below shows a complete whiff. His head is down and he doesn't look very physical or competitive.

The clip below shows another whiff, this time mainly because of an awful path at the snap. His receiver coach definitely didn't teach him to lunge with his shoulder.

The clip below isn't actually a terrible job results-wise. Williams' assignment is to block the most dangerous man, and that ends up being the safety as the corner backpedals. It's good recognition and he's in a good position to sacrifice his body. What concerns me here is how getting ragdolled by a college safety shows lightness that will be a huge issue in the NFL. I don't know how he'll stay on the field playing at sub-180 pounds.

Williams' inconsistencies can be explained by the lack of experience, but his inability to get playing time at Ohio State does raise questions. His game is somewhat immature, but I obviously don't know about his maturity off the field.

 

NFL Outlook

From a pure talent standpoint, Jameson Williams is probably the best WR in this year's draft. He had a ridiculous season at Alabama, and it was unfortunate that an injury had to end it and impact his draft standing. Williams has game-breaking speed and twitch, and his hands are not an issue. There are red flags, however, fair or not. He only produced for one year, is coming off an injury, and has some flaws in his game.

I think team culture and coaching fit will impact Williams' development more than any other WR in this class. If he goes to a team like the Lions without a QB, I wouldn't be surprised to see some struggles. If he goes to a team with an established offense and great culture, he definitely has what it takes to develop into a star. The range of outcomes is super wide for a player long on talent but short on experience.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more draft content in the coming days.

Other Prospect Profiles:

Malik Willis - QB, Liberty

Kenny Pickett - QB, Pittsburgh

Sam Howell - QB, North Carolina

Garrett Wilson - WR, Ohio State

Drake London - WR, USC

Treylon Burks - WR, Arkansas

Chris Olave - WR, Ohio State

Desmond Ridder - QB, Cincinnati

Matt Corral - QB, Mississippi



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