Patriots draft profile: Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams

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The New England Patriots face a number of questions this offseason. How will they fill the vacancies left in their attacking staff? What will be the roles of Joe Judge and Matt Patricia in this new team? How will they approach JC Jackson’s pending free agency? What actions will they take to improve their defense against aging?

This list is a good start, but an important and sneaky question that needs to be answered is: what can New England do to help Mac Jones make the ever-important leap from year two?

Well, how about adding a global deep threat?

Mac Jones certainly had receivers he could trust in 2021, but the distinction between a trusted receiver and one who can transform an entire offense is an important one to make. Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Henry became a formidable pair for Jones last season, accounting for nearly half of the teams’ first receptions, but neither player was what could be considered dynamic.

New England needs someone who can do more. Not just a slot receiver or red zone threat, but a wide receiver who can hit from anywhere at any time. It’s that man.

Name: jameson williams

Position: wide receiver

The school: Alabama (Junior)

Opening day age: 21

2021 statistics: 15 games, 79 receptions, 1,572 yards, 15 touchdowns

Cut: 6’1″, 179 pounds

Planned tour: 1st

Strengths: Jameson Williams is the top deep threat in the 2022 draft class. Williams averaged 47.6 yards per touchdown reception in 2021, scoring 15 total touchdowns in his lone season at Alabama. There are many reasons why he is such a special vertical road runner, but I would be lying if I said most of it had nothing to do with his world speed.

What gets lost in watching Williams being used as a burner is the suddenness and contraction with which he plays. On vertical lanes, he can break through a defender without losing speed. In the middle lanes, his ability to beat the press off the line helps him neutralize a defender’s leverage and play one step ahead. In the red zone, he is efficient with his body and can pass/jump most corners he faces. It has tools to succeed at all levels and in all phases of the game.

Although he is by far the most talented receiver in this class, we must not forget how valuable Jameson Williams is on special teams. His speed makes him a dangerous comeback man when needed, and although he was Alabama’s most valuable player throughout the 2021 season, he knocked down punts like he was. was a freshman. As a transfer from Ohio State to Alabama, contributing to special teams is in his blood and would be on the table at the next level.

Weaknesses: Jameson Williams tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 10, 2022. He will have about 14 weeks of surgery by the time the draft rolls around in April. According to Williams himself, he is ahead of schedule, but the initial prognosis was seven months, which would have made him available from the start of training camp. Williams will go in the first round, so even if he was medically cleared for training camp, it would be hard to see a team allowing him to go all out without bringing him back to fieldwork. It’s possible and maybe even likely to be ready for the first week, but that’s not a guarantee.

If we’re being nitpicky, Williams’ frame is less than ideal and his breakout season followed two disappointing ones at Ohio State. Not the end of the world, not ideal.

What would his role be? If Jameson Williams were to find his way onto the Patriots’ roster, he would immediately become their most talented offensive player. He’s the kind of player offenses are built around and New England could put him right into the role Nelson Agholor had in 2021, except this time with more targets and a lot more responsibility.

Does he have positional versatility? The ideal role for Williams is that of a classic X-receiver. If he were drafted as high as everyone expects, he would fill that role and occupy the majority of all the reps that come with that spot. That doesn’t mean he can’t do other things if asked. He spent time in the slot last year for Alabama and excelled between the 20s as a go-to option for young Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

Who is his competition? There is no competition for Jameson Williams on the Patriots roster. He would be a Day 1 starter.

Why the Patriots? New England — despite its constant need for wide receivers — has done a good job finding players to serve as short and middle options for their quarterbacks. The slot has been covered for a long time, with Jakobi Meyers being the most recent player to excel in this role for New England. Kendrick Bourne is the last Z receiver to gimmick and get the team’s yards after the catch. Williams would serve to round out a formidable duo that covers the bases of teams at all three levels.

Why not the Patriots? With the lack of certainty that comes with an ACL injury, would anyone really be surprised to see Williams slip in this draft? Players have had much more success coming back from knee injuries in recent years, but the wealth of talent in this year’s class could spell a downfall for Williams.

Verdict: The Patriots can’t afford to drop Williams if he falls on them. Perhaps more than any other player in the 2022 draft, he could change the fabric of who the New England Patriots are. It’s a yes from me.

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