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    Mario Williams’ Draft Profile | USC, WR Scouting Report

    The USC Trojans boast a deep set of playmakers for star QB Caleb Williams. We look at WR Mario Williams' 2024 NFL Draft scouting report and project his value.

    USC wide receiver Mario Williams is fighting to become one of the top 2024 NFL Draft prospects on a loaded offense. We’re breaking down Williams’ scouting report for next year’s NFL Draft.

    Mario Williams Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 5’9″
    • Weight: 186
    • School: USC
    • Age: 20

    The former top wide receiver recruit in the country joined Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma before both moved to USC along with star quarterback Caleb Williams. After producing 35 receptions for 380 yards and four scores as a true freshman, Mario Williams increased his total output to 40 catches for 631 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. His biggest performance came against Utah, totaling four receptions for 145 yards.

    Mario Williams Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Projects to the modern NFL especially well, thanks to stellar foot speed that generates effortless quickness.
    • He’s a star in the slot because of his acceleration, but his agility translates as an outside receiver on sharp-cutting routes.
    • Routinely finds big plays against zone coverage because he identifies defensive weaknesses quickly and will run to the open field.
    • Able to be featured on gadget plays due to his speed, elusiveness, and comfort with the ball in his hands.
    • Difficult to bring down in the open field because he suddenly changes direction and has a low center of gravity to target.
    • Tracks the ball extremely well, maintaining control of his body and staying in bounds while the ball is in the air.
    • Dominated on crossing routes and quick outs thanks to his traits.

    Weaknesses

    • Smaller stature and frame may pigeonhole Williams’ outlook to being a slot receiver in the NFL.
    • Lack of length and size creates the usual concerns of a limited catch radius and durability.
    • Totaled more than four receptions only three times in 2022 and twice in 2021, so it’s fair to wonder if he can handle a higher volume of work.
    • Didn’t see a lot of reps against man coverage, making him more of a projection against man coverage than a proven force.
    • Deep speed does not appear to be a strength, so Williams will have to win with his suddenness and agility.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Of USC’s four NFL-caliber receivers, Williams is the most dangerous playmaker. His impressive blend of quickness, active and choppy feet, and effortless acceleration to a decent top speed allows him to jet away from defenders and cause them headaches while in the open field.

    Williams can avoid tackles with subtle movements and stress defenders who try to keep up with his jukes and head fakes.

    MORE: Is Caleb Williams Going To Declare For the 2024 NFL Draft?

    Because USC often forces defenses to play zone coverage, Mario thrives when he can work off Caleb’s improvisation. Mario Williams is a heady player who wisely drifts to open passing lanes. But this also creates some ambiguity to his abilities against man coverage.

    Williams’ traits and skill set project well for him to torture outside and slot corners trying to cover him in a man assignment. His first and second steps create separation that easily. We haven’t seen it often enough to be sure Williams will be more than an underutilized slot target who can be an occasional gadget threat.

    An expanded role for Williams may not come at USC because the team already has several archetypes in place. With Brenden Rice and Dorian Singer set as outside receivers and both Williams and Tahj Washington inside, USC hasn’t been as willing to move their playmakers around as evaluators would like to see.

    I have Williams with a late Day 2 grade as someone who could bring considerable value to an offense needing quickness on third downs and in the red zone. However, it’s easy for slot receivers to fall from Day 2 talents to late Day 3 picks, as the NFL hasn’t prioritized the position in the draft. Williams will need to take advantage of his available targets and push for a bigger role to maximize his value.

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