Could Jameson Williams be the top wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft? Let’s dive in to the scouting report on the speedy receiver.
Name: Jameson Williams
Position: Wide Receiver
DOB: March 26, 2001 (21 years old)
Weight: 179 pounds
Hand Size: 9 2/8″
Arm Length: 32 1/8″
Wingspan: 75 7/8″
*Did not workout at Combine or Pro-Day because he is still recovering from a torn ACL*
Jameson Williams was a star athlete for Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School in St. Louis, Missouri. He put up video game numbers, resulting in an Under Armour All-American selection and a four-star rating on the recruiting trail. Williams also was a standout for the schools’ track and field team. He won multiple state titles in the 300m, while setting a Missouri state record.
Williams attracted many top colleges with his game-breaking big play ability. He ultimately chose to attend Ohio State University over offers from Oregon and Alabama. During his two seasons in Columbus, Jameson saw the field sparingly. The Buckeyes had an insanely stacked wide receiver room in 2019, and in 2020 he was oftentimes overshadowed by the likes of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. He did make a play that OSU fans will remember forever, taking a 45-yarder to the house versus Clemson in the semi-finals of the College Football Playoffs.
Chris Olave surprised many by returning for a senior season in Columbus. Olave’s return — along with the inevitable emergence of Jaxon Smith-Njigba — forced Williams to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Merely a week after entering the transfer portal, the speedy wide receiver chose Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. After being among the most active in his initial recruitment in 2018, Saban did not miss this time around.
At long last, Jameson Williams became the primary focus of an offense at the collegiate level. He quickly became the go-to target for quarterback Bryce Young, playing a major role in Young’s Heisman-winning campaign. Williams scored a ridiculous total of eight touchdowns, coming from 50+ yards out. That’s not all, he chipped in five more touchdowns of 65+ yards. He even gained 40 yards on the play that resulted in his ACL injury! He was a legitimate cheat code in his lone year with the Tide.
Williams brought in 79 catches, going for 1572 yards, and scoring 15 touchdowns in as many games. Not only was he the best player on the offense, Jameson also is an elite special teams player. With his explosiveness, it is no surprise to hear that he served as the return man. What’s surprising is that his ability as a gunner is even better. He delivered some of the biggest hits and used his infectious energy to always keep a positive vibe.
Let’s take a deeper look at what makes him a first-round prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft and a few things he could stand to improve.
2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Speed – Jameson Williams has a prolific track and field background and uses it to put defenders in a pretzel. He has a top gear that is matched by few — if any in the 2022 NFL Draft. It takes Williams a nanosecond to reach that gear, too. He’s not only quick, he’s flat out fast. There are multiple ways for the Alabama wide receiver to be incorporated into an offense. Quick screens will give him the ability to create after the catch, making life significantly easier on whichever quarterback is lucky enough to be throwing him the ball.
After Catch – Using his aforementioned speed, Williams is a threat to score on every single play. Oftentimes when that is said, it is hyperbole. Not with Williams though. He scored a number of long touchdowns, in tons of different ways. Some of them were long bombs from Bryce Young, but a lot of them were created by Williams himself. Not only screens, but even slants and curls could become a major part of his game as a rookie.
Route Running – Sometimes burners get a bad reputation for being subpar in the route running department. Williams is an example of this. I’ve heard a few say that his route running isn’t a strong suit and I could not disagree more. He displays a well-rounded route tree and has a knack for getting open downfield. Williams uses his extremely fluid hips and shiftiness to produce clean breaks out of short-to-intermediate routes. It looks effortless as he glides his way down the field.
Mentality – Williams is — by all accounts — a model teammate. He is highly-respected as a locker room leader, helping to consistently set the tone for the entire team week in and week out. Williams plays with a swagger that you can’t teach and it lingers over to his teammates, increasing the confidence of anyone in his vicinity. He loves one-on-one scenarios and is not shy to let a cornerback know that they just got burnt.
Concentration – While Williams does well to stay engaged for a vast majority of the game, he has a tendency to check out a few times each week. Focus drops are one of the bigger concerns with him, but also one of the most easily correctable. He shows the ability to haul in passes through contact, but gets ahead of himself when he knows that he’s wide open. The good news is, there are traits you can’t teach, but effort level is entirely in the players’ control.
Frame – Williams has an extremely lanky frame, potentially causing issues with physical press-man cornerbacks in the NFL. He was mostly held in check against Cincinnati, but he still put up a good enough showing versus fellow first-round lock — cornerback Sauce Gardner. He will have to prove that his separation off the line of scrimmage will consistently translate against the grown men at the professional level.
Blocking – He must add strength to his frame to ever be an average blocker. Williams is not afraid to get nasty and dish out physical play, but his slender frame will have a hard time holding up for 17 games if he’s throwing around his body with zero caution. Even if he adds weight, it’s unlikely that he will ever be a plus blocker. Blocking is something that will be a deal-breaker for some teams, but for most, the positives far outweigh these nit-picky negatives.
The former Buckeye immediately propelled himself onto the national scale by becoming the No. 1 target for quarterback Bryce Young. He is currently bouncing back from an ACL injury that was suffered in the second quarter of the national championship game versus Georgia. Assuming full recovery, Williams profiles as a weapon that offensive coordinators’ can build entire gameplans around. He is not all that dissimilar from star Dolphins wide receiver — and Alabama alum — Jaylen Waddle. Jameson Williams has the capability to come in and make an immediate impact in the same way that Waddle was able to for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Miami. The injury might have ruined his chances to be the first pass catcher off the board, but even if that is the case, Jameson Williams will still hear his name on day one of the 2022 NFL Draft. The upside is far too high for 32 teams to pass.