It’s players like Baylor’s Terrance Williams that make me very excited for the potential of players that won’t be taken on day one of the NFL draft. Williams is not a name that is mentioned when talking about top wide receivers in this year’s class, but when you look at his film (never mind his numbers) Williams becomes an extremely intriguing prospect with the potential to make a big splash in the NFL.
All of Williams’ measurables are pretty much on average with today’s wide receiver in the NFL. He’s 6’2”, about 210 pounds and runs around the 40-yard dash in around 4.5 seconds (ran a 4.52 at the combine). When you look at his numbers though, it becomes obvious that Williams is not your average, every day receiver. In 2012, he had 1832 yards receiving with about 90 catches, the best in the nation last year. Williams also managed 12 touchdowns to go along with his gaudy yardage total. He is not the best all-around receiver you will ever see, but what he does he does pretty damn well.
A lot of the catches he made for the Bears came off of button hooks and on the sideline. Very often on film you’ll see him run just around to where the first down marker is, stop and turn to the ball which was probably already on its way to his chest. Williams did a good job of consistently make this type of catch and getting the fist down in these kinds of situations, and it’s the kind of play he may be asked to make at the next level so he needs to continue to be consistent with it.
Williams did just about everything he could to help the Bears with some football games. He primarily played outside receiver, but he would on occasion move into the slot. He’d run the occasional in-route or slant route. He’d catch a screen pass every now and then. But that is not where Williams made his name; where Williams really shines is with the deep ball. For someone who doesn’t have world-class speed, it was very impressive to see how easily he was able to get behind the defense and make the big play deep down the field. A legitimate deep threat is a hot commodity in the NFL, and if Williams can translate his collegiate success into the NFL, he will have a very successful, and lucrative, professional career as well.
A key characteristic of a great deep threat receiver though is their willingness to go up and make the tough catch. Williams is not afraid to do that in the slightest. It’s apparent to me that he is not at all scared to jump up and fight with the defender for the ball. Fearlessness is a great quality in a wide receiver, and not just in a deep threat.
You also need to be fearless in the blocking aspect of the position. And, again, Williams is not at all afraid to block for his teammates. For someone who doesn’t, on the surface or otherwise, seem to have superhuman strength, his blocking ability is quite impressive. Whether it’s for his running back or a fellow wide receiver, Williams blocked well on an extremely consistent basis and helps his teammates get those extra yards.
One other thing that should probably be mentioned is the quality of his quarterback. While Nick Florence’s numbers were not terrible, I saw him on more than one occasion flat out miss Williams. From what I saw, and to be fair it was not a full analysis, Florence is not extremely accurate nor does he have a very strong arm. So, with that being said, I am extremely interested to see how Williams will perform if he is picked by a team with a top-caliber quarterback to throw him the ball.
Williams isn’t the world’s most perfect receiver. He has a habit of dropping open passes. He is not the world’s crispest route runner (although he did run a stop & go route vs. Texas that should be put in the Smithsonian). There are some good reasons why Williams isn’t the top wide receiver prospect in this year’s class, but there are some decent arguments for why he should be.
Terrance Williams reminds me a little bit of Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith; he simply makes plays for his football team. Whether it’s in the middle of the field or in the redzone, Williams will do anything to help his team win. He is a very good deep threat with some good hands and tracks the ball well. Williams also does a good job at adjusting to the poorly thrown ball even with defenders on top of him.
Williams isn’t exactly a “sleeper” pick, but I think a team picking him in the middle to late second round (or even the third) could be getting a steal. I think there is a decent chance that Williams will make a big splash at the next level for any team looking to add some playmakers to their offense. Teams like the Dolphins, Patriots, or even the Browns or Eagles (among others) should all have Terrance Williams on their radar.