Jameson Williams - WR - University of Alabama
Welcome to the rookie profile for Jameson Williams. Williams had a slow start to his career at the Ohio State University. That was until he decided to transfer to Alabama where he exploded onto the scene as one of the best wide receivers in the country. Even after his ACL injury in the national championship game, he appears to be locked in as a first-rounder in the upcoming NFL Draft. But that ACL injury adds even more uncertainty to this potential one-year wonder.
Height: 6′ 1.5″
Weight: 179 lbs
40-yard dash: DNP
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
Jameson Williams walked into a crowded wide receiver core at the Ohio State University his freshman year. There were fellow 2022 Draft Class members in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson commanding targets along with KJ Hill and Binjimen Victor. His first two years were pretty non-existent, just eclipsing 100 yards each year. In 2020 Olave and Wilson commanded most of the offensive targets to the point that Williams was the 3rd leading receiver his sophomore year with 154 yards.
With both Olave and Wilson returning and a loaded wide receiver class coming in in 2021, Williams decided to enter the transfer portal. He needed to get reps and saw that wasn’t going to happen with Ohio State’s loaded wide receiver core. Thanks to Alabama surprisingly having a wide receiver core lacking depth, he hopped from one title contender to another. He perfectly filled the downfield stretcher role for Alabama that they desperately needed. Williams was a massive part of Bryce Young’s Heisman trophy, going for over 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns and displaying explosive playmaking ability with 19.9 yards per reception. His performance earned him a Biletnikoff Award Finalist, First-team All-American, SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year, and First-team All-SEC.
With all the good, Jameson Williams’ ended on a sour note. In the last game of the season, the Championship game against Georgia, Williams goes down with a non-contact leg injury at the start of the second quarter. It was reported days later that he tore his ACL. This impacts his draft outlook, but teams are looking at a rookie for their future impact just as much, if not more than their immediate production on the field. Williams will most definitely miss the offseason with his NFL team and probably most of his rookie season if not all of it.
Williams does a lot of things very well, but it all starts with his game-breaking speed. He is an explosive play waiting to happen, averaging 19.9 yards per reception at Alabama. That speed lends him the ability to create massive amounts of separation. Defenders have to respect his speed and tend to play well off of him at the line of scrimmage. And once Williams gets a step on the DB, there’s no catching up to him on any type of route. Defenses have to build gameplans around a guy like Jameson Williams.
Speed isn’t the only part of his game though, as he’s a very solid route runner. He’s not a one-trick pony with his speed like some previous speedsters we’ve seen in the draft. He has nice breaks to the outside, and quick hips that allow him to have a fluid release. He demonstrates a good ability to use leverage, which can be devastating if the defenders let him have too much space with his speed. He knows how to get open and then can make you pay with his yards after the catch in the open field where he looks like he’s gliding across the field. There’s just no catching up to him.
Jameson Williams is an extremely explosive athlete, but on the flip side, he has a slight frame at 6’2” 189lbs. It causes some worry in regards to his ability to fight off press coverage at the line of scrimmage and how he will handle more physical defensive backs in the NFL. Generally though, if defenses aren’t trying to press him, it’s for a reason. This category is more of a question mark than a knock, but something to pay attention to. His smaller frame also hindered his ability to block for his teammates out in the open field. He would get in the way of a defender, but generally nothing more than that.
Williams’ production profile is a very intriguing one. His complete lack of production at Ohio State is a bit of a red flag, and brings up the question, “Why didn’t he produce more at Ohio State?” and “Was 2021 a flash in the pan?”. Most likely not, because his skills look like they’ll translate well to the next level, but something to keep in mind.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 1
The NFL drools over prospects with game-breaking speed like Jameson Williams. Even with the ACL injury, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the first wide receiver off the board. The pick is for the long term, and not for immediate production. The team that drafts him needs to utilize him as more than just a field stretcher and work to get him in space in creative ways. If used correctly, he has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker for a team and a consistent leader in receiving yards for his NFL team. Teams that would be good fits include the Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Post Draft Analysis
Detroit Lions- Round 1, Pick 12
The Lions have sneakily created a really exciting offense with weapons like D’Andre Swift, TJ Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and newly added Jameson Williams in tandem with an improving offensive line. The question is whether or not Jared Goff will be the quarterback to elevate the Lions, or will it be a rookie taking the helm in 2023. If a rookie does step in in 2023, the Lions could be an excellent landing spot with the supporting cast on offense. Despite St. Brown establishing himself with a very impressive rookie season, outside of him there is really no competition for wide receiver snaps for Jameson Williams. DJ Chark is a newly signed wide receiver but has been up and down throughout his career with Jacksonville. Once fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered during the College National Championship game, Williams looks to step right into the starting outside receiver role with Chark opposite of him and St. Brown in the slot. Luckily for Detriot, they have no realistic competing aspirations in 2022 and have time to wait for Williams to get back to full strength this season.
Williams can immediately provide a deep threat for the Lions as soon as he is healthy enough to get on the field. He will need to develop his game further as a route runner to become a true fantasy WR1. Not to mention, he does still have target competition between Hockenson, Swift, and St. Brown. But with Williams’ specialty downfield, he doesn’t need to command a massive target share to do damage to the defense. The worry is that he is more of an asset to his NFL team as a field stretcher than to fantasy managers. Williams has the skillset to develop into a threat at all levels of the field, but his speed presents the threat that his coach pigeonholes him into a strictly downfield player. He is a player to avoid in redraft seeing that he will miss the start of the season, potentially the entire fantasy season depending on his recovery. In dynasty, his dynamic speed presents an upside that puts him in the conversation to being one of the top wide receivers taken in rookie drafts. But his risk puts him squarely behind the top tier of WRs in Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and Treylon Burks.