Over the past two NFL Drafts, Alabama has produced four first-round wide receivers. The Crimson Tide football program has long been a receiver factory. But lately, it’s as productive as it’s ever been. With his NFL Draft scouting report, can Alabama WR Jameson Williams be the next first-round pick to roll off the collegiate conveyer belt?
Jameson Williams NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide receiver
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 189 pounds
Jameson Williams Scouting Report
Every year, players come out of nowhere. But at the wide receiver position, there’s always an explosive element to breakouts. The nature of the position — especially for the most prestigious teams — makes it impossible to ignore when players produce. That’s been the case for Williams in 2021.
In his first and potentially only season with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Williams has legitimately lit up the college football stage. He’s been one of the most productive pass catchers in the country, showing off rare upside while flipping fields week in and week out. Can Williams extend Alabama’s first-round streak? Let’s discuss.
Jameson Williams’ athletic profile
Athleticism, in some form, is becoming a necessity for NFL wide receivers. And it’s clear that Williams is not under-stocked in that regard. The Alabama WR has supreme explosive capacity, and he uses that to generate big plays on a weekly basis.
Williams is uncommonly explosive out of his stance, and he has legitimate game-breaking speed in space. His long, energetic strides are absurdly efficient, and he can gain separation with his elite acceleration alone. Williams is very dangerous when schemed into space, but he also has the skill set to create space on his own.
When he’s not taking the top off of defenses, Williams has proven to have strong run-after-catch ability. The Alabama WR has impressive lateral agility and elusiveness. He’s a jittery RAC threat who also has incredibly fluid hips. He can shrink himself and make sharp direction changes with ease. Williams is a sudden and twitchy receiver, but also incredibly smooth and natural stacking moves.
Williams glides in open space, and he’s a smooth player with easily accessible dynamic ability. But at 6’2″, 189 pounds, he has a solid frame as well. The Alabama product is a little lanky, but he has the size to be competitive in contested situations. With this size, he also has some balance amid contact. He’s shown he can shrug off arm tackles and even bounce off direct contact at times.
Execution beyond the athletic traits
Williams’ athletic foundation is extremely exciting, but so his surprising polish and instinct as a receiver.
The Alabama WR’s athleticism translates easily to his route running. He naturally sinks his hips on route breaks and uses fast feet to cut stems with suddenness. At these stems, Williams can also use physicality to maximize separation. Additionally, Williams can stack quick direction changes and stop-and-start abruptly as a route runner. He sells his breaks with effortless voracity, and his twitch allows him to force DBs into a lurch.
Expanding on Williams’ route running, the Alabama WR knows how to subtly manipulate defensive backs downfield with his running angles. This also shows up after the catch. Williams is a slippery runner who can adjust his speed and angle leverage to keep plays alive. Moreover, Williams can lean in and out of direction changes, attacking challenging angles in space. He has great overall balance, but it shines when he’s a ball carrier.
Williams can be an elite route runner, but he’s also adept in contested situations. The Crimson Tide WR possesses excellent concentration, balance, and body control at the catch point. He’s proven he can adjust for inaccurate passes, track the ball, and contort quickly to position himself for the catch. In these situations, Williams has impressive focus and proactively seeks out the ball with his hands. He can also work through contact and snare passes under pressure.
Areas for improvement
Being a true junior, it’s no surprise that while Williams is a strong player, there are still areas for improvement. Most notably, the Alabama WR can still attain greater consistency as a route runner. Williams rounds his breaks on occasion and can use his traits more expansively at times. He can also utilize head fakes and deception to a greater degree. He can be more calculated and coordinated at his breaks at times, and there’s room for him to expand his route tree overall.
Going further, Williams doesn’t have a ton of experience against press — though part of this may be strategic due to his speed. Nevertheless, he may need to adjust to NFL physicality. The Crimson Tide product can also expand his range of releases off the line. He has potential there, but his releases aren’t always complex.
While Williams is solid overall with his hands and concentration, his focus sometimes lapses when he has to reach beyond his frame for passes. This causes occasional focus drops. Additionally, after the catch, Williams sometimes freezes and allows defenders to close in while trying to be too creative. Creativity is certainly desired, but a level of decisiveness also must be present.
Finally, Williams isn’t a great run blocker. He doesn’t always position himself correctly, and he doesn’t sustain blocks very well, either. There are also times where Williams doesn’t block to the final whistle. Blocking is relatively minor for receivers but notable nonetheless.
Jameson Williams’ 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
Although he didn’t come to Alabama as a high school recruit like other past first-round picks for the Crimson Tide, Williams is still in position to carry on their legacy. The Alabama WR has been one of the most productive receivers in college football this year. But beyond that, he has an enticing NFL skill set with upside that few receivers can match.
As a deep threat, Williams could potentially be the best in his class. He has elite explosiveness and speed, and his long strides in open space are near impossible to keep up with. There’s a legitimate chance Williams could run in the 4.3s, and it’s not surprising seeing how he can create distance between himself and defenders.
Beyond his speed and explosiveness, however, Williams has the makings of a complete NFL wide receiver. He has loose, flexible hips that can sink with ease on route-running reps. He’s an incredibly twitchy player who can generate displacement off quick, subtle movements. And at the catch point, Williams has great hands, focus, and instincts.
Round 1 isn’t off the table for Williams. And if you’re asking me, he’s worth it. He’s a complete receiver — with game-breaking speed on the side.
Jameson Williams’ Player Profile
Williams’ experience is one that emphasizes the depth of talent present in some pockets of the college football landscape. Because if it weren’t for a trip to the transfer portal, Williams might’ve been buried on the depth chart somewhere else.
The talent was always visible with Williams. He dominated the competition in high school, where his roots as a deep threat took hold. As a two-time track-and-field title winner and a state record-holder in the 300-meter hurdles, Williams’ speed directly translated to the football field. As a junior, he amassed 1,062 yards and 15 scores on just 36 catches. The next year, he piled on 1,626 yards and 22 touchdowns on 68 receptions.
With his production and physical potential, Williams earned a four-star recruit status in the 2019 class. Alabama offered a scholarship to Williams, as did schools like Georgia, Michigan State, Michigan, and Florida. But the Missouri native chose to sign with Ohio State, drawn by Brian Hartline’s developmental track record.
Williams’ talent, combined with Ohio State’s prestige as a producer, helped cultivate excitement for his arrival. But the glamour of his opportunity in Columbus soon soured. In his first two seasons, Williams caught just 15 passes for 266 yards and 3 scores. Meanwhile, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave earned greater roles above him. Ohio State also signed four high-profile WRs in the 2020 class and another three in 2021. The writing was on the wall for Williams. So in 2021, he transferred to Alabama.
Williams’ career at Alabama and NFL Draft ascension
Williams came to the Alabama Crimson Tide at an opportune time. Head coach Nick Saban had just led his team to a College Football Playoff and National Championship Game. Buzz at Bryant-Denny Stadium remained high, but there was a talent gap from 2020. Jayden Waddle and DeVonta Smith both entered the 2021 NFL Draft, leaving only John Metchie III and Slade Bolden as past producers.
The opportunity ahead reinvigorated Williams, and he entered camp with newfound energy. He impressed Alabama coaches enough to earn a premier role in the offense early, and the rest is (recent) history. Fast forward to today, and Williams has been one of the most explosive weapons in college football. With playing time, he’s emerged onto the NFL Draft scene, corralling 59 catches for 1,218 yards and 13 touchdowns in just 11 games.
No matter how he closes out the year, Williams has put enough quality play on tape to pique scouts’ interest. His speed is truly rare, but he’s not a simple deep threat or gadget guy. He’s a well-rounded receiver with an exciting, dynamic element. Furthermore, he has ability as a returner. Should Williams declare, his testing would seal the deal — he’s a potential first-round receiver.