Jameson Williams presents a very interesting case to be one of the early-drafted wideouts this year. There’s a lot to like from his 2021 performance when he dominated opposing secondaries while the Crimson Tide advanced to yet another College Football Championship. He hails from an Alabama program that produced Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III, and Jerry Jeudy in just the last two years.
And yet his first two seasons were spent at Ohio State where he was a reserve with special teams play. Williams was behind Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson for the Buckeyes, and both of those receivers are also in this draft. Williams helped fill the void that was left when Waddle and Smith left for the NFL draft last season and the Crimson Tide had to remake their receiver corps (not that unusual for Alabama, nor often a problem either).
There’s no contesting that he had a tremendous season in 2021. But he also tore his ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship. That throws at least some uncertainty on here he should be valued on NFL draft boards. His injury kept him from performing at the NFL Combine, but there’s plenty of tape to review from his 79-catch, 1,572-yard performance last year.
He’s had the surgery and is reportedly ahead of schedule in is recovery that was expected to be 5-7 months. There’s still a chance that he could be ready by training camp, but even if he wasn’t ready by the season’s start, that shouldn’t have much bearing on where he is selected.
Weight: 189 pounds
40 time: sub-4.4 seconds estimated (did not run at combine)
Williams could be a stellar addition to any football team if he can replicate that one good year that ended with an ACL tear. But – he only managed the one notable season and as with so many Alabama players entering the draft, the question always exists – how much did the perpetually-stacked offense around him help his production?
Table: Jameson Williams NCAA stats (2019-21)
- Highly productive as a starter for Alabama
- Fast – accelerates instantly and has that elite extra gear
- Burst and start-stop is special, can blow past coverage
- Long limbs with large catch radius
- Impressive route runner
- Outstanding ability to get separation
- Deadly from slot with a free release
- Consistent yards after catch as a slippery speed merchant
- Good football intelligence helps him respond to differing types of coverage
- Versatile and more than just a deep threat
- Big play ability makes him dangerous every down
- High character
- Recovering from ACL tear in January
- Possible one-year wonder
- More of a vertical receiver
- Lanky build could suffer versus aggressive NFL cornerbacks
Jameson Williams enjoyed an elite 2021 season that ended in the National Championship when he tore his ACL. He’s certainly more of a risk that other receivers that crested 1,500 yards in a single season thanks to that injury and the fact that he couldn’t win a starting job for two years at Ohio State. And both of the Buckeye wideouts he couldn’t surpass are also in this draft.
He’s still expected to be taken in the back half of the first round. His redraft value will be lower since he may not be 100% up to speed by Week 1 of the season and he’s only played for one year as a starter – albeit with great results.
With any receiver, the value depends on the quarterback and overall offense that he joins. Williams should be a higher pick in a dynasty league where his worth should increase in future years. He’ll be tracked throughout the offseason and preseason to determine how likely he’ll be a notable factor as a rookie. But he could end up a steal for his team in future years if he can recapture the form of 2021.