Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Jameson Williams was the best receiver in college football last year and if everything had gone according to plan, he likely would have gone in the top ten of the 2022 NFL Draft. But he tore his ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game and is currently in the process of recovering from that. Williams himself said that he was told that the typical recovery period was five to seven months, but that he is currently ahead of schedule.
A 2019 study published by the National Library of Medicine found that the average amount of time from an ACL tear to a return to play among NFL players was nearly 50 weeks. Current Packers receiver Amari Rodgers tore his ACL at Clemson and was back on the field playing in games in under 24 weeks. How long Williams is out and how it ultimately affects his speed-centric skill set both remain to be seen.
But as far as talent and production goes, Jameson Williams was one of the best wide receiver prospects the NFL has seen in the past few years. He lit up the SEC this past year for Alabama, making first team All-America and hauling in 79 passes for 1,572 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns. He averaged 19.9 yards per catch.
Williams has the requisite size (6’2” 189), length, and speed (he reportedly ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at Alabama) to be a number one receiver in the NFL. He also has the work ethic. His head coach at Alabama Nick Saban described Jameson Williams as a “hard worker” and a “great competitor.” This is evidenced by how he contributed on special teams as a kickoff returner and even a gunner on punt coverage.
Modern sports medicine has allowed many athletes to come back and play just as well after serious knee injuries as they had before the event. If Jameson Williams can do that, he has a chance to be the best receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft and a home run pick for the Arizona Cardinals.