ESPN’s Chris Mortensen shared some information Wednesday that, if true, should drastically change expectations for the top half of the NFL Draft. Mortensen reported that Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams will go in the top 10 — far higher than many expected, particularly given Williams’ health.
Which top 10 NFL Draft team is targeting Jameson Williams?
Williams is the No. 17 player on the PFN Consensus Big Board — a ranking dragged down a bit by his complicated health situation.
Williams is just three months removed from reconstructive knee surgery. And even though he insists he will be cleared physically by the start of training camp, there’s no way the torn ACL won’t impact his rookie season.
But if Mort’s reporting is accurate, there’s at least one team picking in the top 10 willing to overlook that, which leads to an obvious follow-up: Who? Let’s engage in a bit of informed speculation.
New York Jets
Four of the top 10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft will play their home games at MetLife Stadium (barring a trade).
And while you can’t totally count out the Giants, particularly with offensive-minded Brian Daboll as their new head coach, receiver is actually relatively low on their list of needs.
But the Jets, who pick fourth and 10th, absolutely need to get better on the outside. Their No. 1 receiver from 2021, Jamison Crowder, is now a Buffalo Bill. Their No. 2 receiver from 2021, Braxton Berrios, is not a dynamic offensive threat.
Certainly, the expectation is that Elijah Moore and Corey Davis will do more this year than last. However, for the Jets to get a full and fair evaluation of Zach Wilson, they need to get him more help.
We can all agree that the Falcons have the worst collection of wide receivers in football. But we can also all agree that — unless the Jets take a receiver at 4 — the Falcons will have their pick of the litter at 8.
Again, that’s barring a trade. So if you have your pick of any wide receiver in the draft, would you really bypass a clean (and arguably better) prospect in Garrett Wilson for an injured one like Williams?
Now, if Wilson goes in the first seven picks, it’s not hard to envision the Falcons panicking and taking the No. 2 wideout on their board, who conceivably could be Williams. (He’s third on PFN’s Big Board, but not by much.)
This is a smokescreen
Who has the most to gain from circulating information that could cause panic among receiver-needy teams picking in the teens? A team hoping to convince one of those teams to give up more than they should to jump into the top 10.
It’s “Smokescreen SZN” in the National Football League. This kind of has the feel of one.