Southern California Junior
PROS: Has nice size, speed, and hands. Is a long strider that can make plays down the field. Is an effective blocker due to size and can use his body to shield away the defender on shorter routes. Hard to jam as well. Can be shifty after the catch with nice quickness. Does a nice job tracking the deep ball, and shows good body control, able to lay out for passes. Is a sure-handed punt returner.
CONS: Doesn't show great hands and concentration, body catching a bit too much and dropping some easy throws. Doesn't have great short-area burst to get separation and needs to improve his route-running. Tends to push off at times to get necesssary spacing. Isn't as physical as his size should merit and needs to do a better job positioning his body to make grab in traffic. After the catch, has a tendency to go east and west rather than north and south. Gives minimal effort as a blocker.
OVERVIEW: Williams has upside and has been the go-to target at USC the past two seasons. But he tends to be a finesse receiver that has the tools to succeed, but needs some work. Transferred from Arkansas after his freshman year. Caught 128 passes for 1879 yards (14.7 avg) and 15 scores the past two years working with Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Averaged 14.2 yards this past year as a punt returner with 2 scores.
NFL FORECAST: He can make plays down the field, but lacks the short-area burst to get good separation and get a good release every time in order to stretch the defense. If he can improve his route-running and get stronger, then I think he stands a good chance of succeeding at the next level. And I think with the improvements there, he'll be a go-to receiver at the next level. He won't be a top No. 1 receiver, but can be a guy that can give you 60-70 catches each year. I think he'd be better as complementary receiver. But route-running is going to be critical to his success. Because he lacks the burst to get separation, and isn't physical enough to muscle his way through traffic if a corner is draped over him. So it's very possible he could be a bust at the next level like so many other Trojan receivers if he doesn't show the attention to detail to become a polished route-runner. And along those lines, I don't expect him to contribute a lot early in his career. He might be one of those players that goes like Roddy White and others and is a disappointment his first two years in the league. And he'll either get it in his third year or he won't and wash out of the league. If he plays with a polished veteran that can take him under his wing, then his chances of succeeding should be higher, but I'm sure the Panthers thought the same with Dwayne Jarrett playing with Steve Smith and Moose. In his case, I'm not sure it's a matter of having a good supporting cast around him, it's whether he himself wants it. He needs to be self motivated, and that's something you can only get in the interview process.
ATL FORECAST: Williams has the potential to be a better complementary receiver than Jenkins, although they are similar. But I think because Williams is a better runner after the catch than Jenkins, he'll be more consistent option for Ryan to go to. And while White would be a good role model for him to have here in Atlanta as he develops, I wouldn't expect him to impact earlier here than he would in any other NFL city. But three years from now he should be ready to replace Jenkins, or about to get cut.
VALUE: Because of the risk he could be another Jarrett, I would wait to draft Williams in the mid to late part of the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
BODY CONTROL: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.