By Mikey Ostrowski

Every year we reflect on last year’s rookie draft, and at some point we think to ourselves “gah! I could’ve had that guy over the one I drafted?!” and it hurts the same every time. Remember when you drafted N’Keal Harry instead of AJ Brown? What about when you took Jerry Jeudy or even Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson (this was a very real thing, by the way)? Don’t even get me started on the whole Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs Jonathan Taylor thing…Either way, there’s always a guy that goes undrafted for far too long in our rookie drafts (even if they were all 1st round picks).

This season will be different… is what I say to myself each year before ultimately making at least one wrong draft decision. And you know what? I’m going to tell myself (and you) that, again! Sure, I could preach that “Breece Hall is the CAN’T MISS guy of this class!” But who would that really be helping at this point? Although, there is one guy that is projected to go in the 1st round and just isn’t being talked about nearly enough right now… and I think it’s about time we start.

Jameson Williams (Wide Receiver, Alabama) is, without a doubt, the guy that will fall way too far in those rookie drafts. Is Jameson Williams the best receiver in this class? I personally think he deserves to be in that conversation. Williams is an incredible receiver and is going to be dominant as a pro. Nobody seems to be putting him in the same conversation as Garrett Wilson, Treylon Burks and Drake London, but that’s exactly where he deserves to be. I think many are mistaking Williams for a “one-dimensional speedster” and that is a mistake I’d highly recommend avoiding.

As a junior, Williams was a big play waiting to happen and put up 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns on 79 receptions (he also had 2 touchdowns on kick returns). Sure, his speed helps with the big-play factor, but his ability to make a play comes from his abilities as a route runner. He pulls off the double move with such grace and can change direction as fast as anyone. His route tree is far from one-dimensional and he’s proven that he can do just about anything you ask him to do on the football field. It also doesn’t hurt that he is quick as all hell off of the line. The combination of quickness, speed and route-running (and a seemingly high football IQ) that Jamo possesses is rare and is going to give opposing secondaries plenty of headaches at the next level.

I guarantee you that more people would be talking about him had he been able to participate in the NFL Combine. Unfortunately, his ACL injury prevented him from participating… but there is a silver lining. Thanks to the hype of social media, anyone who did well at the combine has been labeled as a Demigod by the fantasy football community. That means that Williams will undoubtedly be a great value in those rookie drafts. His ADP could improve if he is one of the first receivers drafted in real life, but as of now, he’s only projected to be drafted towards the end of the 1st round in those dynasty drafts. 

Aside from the ACL injury and the lack of testing at the combine, there really aren’t any red flags with Williams. Sure, you could knock him for his first two years of college where he was nothing more than a depth receiver for Ohio State, but I wouldn’t be too worried about that. It is a little discouraging that he could not beat out the receivers there for playing time… but then again, Ohio State has a monstrous receiver room and someone was bound to be left out. After transferring to Alabama, Williams proved to Ohio State why letting him go was a huge mistake, as he had absolutely erupted on the stat sheet after finally receiving an opportunity. 

You can continue on favoring Wilson, Burks or London if you prefer, but do yourself a serious favor and look more into Jameson Williams. With the exception of his size, he is as perfect of a receiver as you could want. Is he fast? Definitely. Is he a good route-runner? No, he’s a great route-runner. Is he explosive off of the line and hard to tackle in the open field? Hell yeah he is.

For what it’s worth, Jameson Williams has come in as the #4 overall receiver (out of 57 eligible players) on my projection model that dates back to the 2018 class. A word of warning, this does project him as a 1st round pick for the NFL Draft, but even if he falls to the 2nd round, he’d still be labeled as a “safe prospect”. The only three receivers that have ranked higher than him in that timespan are Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and *insert wide eyes emoji here* Garrett Wilson. Granted the model has not been perfect, but over the last four draft classes, it’s proven to be accurate on roughly 80% of the players… pretty damn good odds.

Jameson Williams is currently ranked as my #5 overall player of the 2022 rookie class and I don’t see many scenarios where that number changes for the worse. In my mind, he’s definitely worth a top-5 pick in 1QB leagues and is easily worth a top-7 pick in SF/2QB formats. According to our friends over at FF Faceoff, Williams is being mock-drafted anywhere between picks 6 through 9 (1QB)… which means that he’s already a value in my mind. I seriously think that within the next two seasons, many people are going to be looking back at their 2022 draft and wonder why the hell they passed up on their opportunity to draft Jameson Williams.

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