One Draft Prospect Can Transform Vikings Offense into a Horror Movie for Defenses
In last year’s draft, two Alabama wide receivers were selected in the first round. The Dolphins traded up to pick six, to get their hands on Jaylen Waddle.
The dynamic playmaker finished his rookie campaign with 104 catches, an NFL rookie record, and 1,015 yards. The Eagles traded up to the 10th overall pick to select 2021 Heisman trophy winner DeVonta Smith. The 23-year old recorded 64 receptions for 916 yards in the Eagles’ run-first offense around Jalen Hurts.
In this year’s draft, the national championship runner-up, Alabama, has one of the top receiving talents in the draft.
The speed demon was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School and was a superstar for their football and track teams. In his final two seasons, Williams had 104 receptions for over 2,600 yards and 37 touchdowns. Following his stellar senior season, he was named an Under-Armor All-American.
Jameson Williams has won back-to-back state titles in the 300m hurdles and even set the state record previously held by Dallas Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Ranked as a four-star recruit, Williams chose to accept the offer of the Ohio State Buckeyes over the other teams on the long list of offers, including Alabama.
Despite his talent, the explosive receiver struggled in the first two years of his college career, as he could not get consistent playing time. He only appeared in ten games and recorded 15 receptions for less than 300 yards and three touchdowns.
As a result of the disappointing start to his career, Williams entered the transfer portal. In an interview with Rivals.com, he explained why he decided to continue his career somewhere else:
“To me, things were just unclear. I wasn’t certain of my role in the offense. The receiver room got crowded. I just decided I needed a fresh start.”Jameson Williams explains his transfer
Once more, the Missouri native had a lot of offers to choose from. And once more, he decided to attend a powerhouse. He transferred to Alabama to play for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.
Since stepping foot on the Alabama campus, Williams was feared around the country. The junior recorded 1,561 receiving yards on 78 catches to go ahead with 15 touchdowns. Twenty yards per catch is the number of a superstar.
In the national championship game, Williams caught a pass deep in the middle of the field, tried to juke a defender, and went down. He not only went down, he instantly grabbed his knee. Football fans all over the country held their breath, but their worst fears came true. The dynamic playmaker suffered a torn ACL in his last game in college.
Surprisingly, Williams was given a short timeline for a recovery: Five to seven months. Usually, a torn ACL guarantees nine months of not playing football. He’s not only on a short timeline, but he is also ahead of schedule. Consequently, Williams could be able to play in week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, just eight months after suffering the injury.
His speed is unmatched. Williams is the fastest of the potential first-round receiving prospects in the draft. Not only his straight-line speed but also his agility is first-class. He uses both to create separation whenever he runs a route. Per PFF, 1,329 of his 1,561 receiving yards came when he was open. Williams has shown to be an exceptional route runner. He knows exactly when it’s the right time to use his speed.
The obvious concern is his knee injury. Even if he’s ahead of schedule, it’s still a torn ACL that could become a problem in the future. Another concern is his thin build and that he doesn’t play well through contact. The previously mentioned DeVonta Smith had similar concerns and performed brilliantly last season. He could not beat out other receivers at Ohio State, especially Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, which raises some eyebrows. Explanations could be that the coaching staff simply made a mistake or that the playing type of Olave and Wilson were just better fitted for the offense.
Career and Draft Outlook
Jameson Williams has the third-lowest odds to be the first wide receiver selected in the draft, +850. Only Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and USC’s Drake London have better odds.
When healthy, Williams will certainly be a dangerous weapon in the NFL. If the Vikings can land him, Kevin O’Connell’s offense would be feared around the league. To stop an offense around Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Irv Smith Jr, KJ Osborn, and Jameson Williams appears impossible. In addition to becoming a dangerous weapon short-term, long-term Jameson Williams would replace Adam Thielen as the second wide receiver next to Jefferson and therefore make a ton of sense.