In a weak tight end class, it may be best to draft a guy with a specific and impressive skill set. A guy who fits that description is Bryce Williams. He is a great pass catching threat who can contribute to an offense right away. He may need some polishing, but he can step in right away as a number two TE and a red zone target.
Williams is the best pass catching tight end I’ve seen in this class. East Carolina believed so too as they played him in the slot more often than they lined him up as a traditional tight end. He runs decent routes with the ability to find the holes in the defense and take advantage. The trait that really jumps out at me are his hands. Williams consistently makes the catch in traffic, with defenders all around him. In terms of catching the ball Williams might have the best hands of anyone in this class regardless of position.
In terms of measurables, Williams stacks up fairly well. He’s got good size, 6’6 and 260 lbs, and should be a good red zone threat at the next level. Hi straight line speed is decent, but his initial quickness off the line is very good. In those first five to ten yards from the line of scrimmage, Williams creates a lot of separation. His routes are only decent, but he was the natural fluid athleticism to get better in this area.
Williams also brings a lot in terms of intangibles. He lined up all over the place in college; on the line, in the slot, and in the backfield as a wing. Regardless of where he lined up, he looked like he belonged. This versatility will give offensive coordinators a lot of options at the next level. It’s also worth noting that Williams is very scrappy. He fights for every yard when he has the ball in his hands and he throws his body around without fear as a blocker.
Although Williams shows great effort as a blocker, he is only average at best. He won’t be the kind of tight end who lines up next to the offensive tackle and helps much in the running game. This may be a reflection of his narrow build. While he weighed in at 260 lbs, Williams looks very thin with a lack of ideal bulk. Both areas could be improved with an NFL weight room.
Williams was a bit of a one year wonder in college. Last season was his only year with more than twenty receptions and his only year with over 240 receiving yards. It’s also worth noting that his touchdown totals were underwhelming considering his size and ability to move. It’s easy to see his gifts on film, but I question why his production was below average.
I’m not convinced that Williams isn’t the best tight end in this class. His hands are excellent, his versatility is an asset to any passing game, and his measurable are NFL quality. He can still get better, but he is a next level ready prospect as a pass catcher. He is still learning the position, so expect him to be a day three prospect, but he will be a real weapon in a year or two.