Four Prospects Set to Upend Draft Boards
2. Kasen Williams – Wide Receiver – Washington
A five-star recruit from nearby Sammamish High School, Williams wasted no time establishing himself as a weapon in the Huskies’ passing attack, hauling in 36 passes for 427 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman in 2011. He improved upon that performance in his sophomore year, nabbing 77 grabs for 878 yards and another six scores, and combined with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to form one of the more talented WR/TE combinations in the country. In a year in which there exists an abundance of talented draft-eligible wideouts, Williams offers the most complete package of the group, with legitimate superstar potential at the “X” receiver position in the NFL.
What Makes Him Special: Williams is physically imposing at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, and knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage against smaller defensive backs. While he lacks elite top-end speed, Williams accelerates quickly out of his breaks and is capable of stretching the field with his combination of length and speed. He is an impressive leaper with natural hands, capable of snatching the ball out of the air with his long arms, and possesses excellent body control to adjust to the football in the air. He makes a quick transition from receiver to ball-carrier after the catch, making defenders miss and effectively using his overall strength to fight through tacklers.
Where He Must Improve: As is the case with many wide receiver prospects, Williams will need to develop his route running. Becoming more efficient with his footwork, mastering the art of selling his fakes, and learning how to better utilize his frame to establish his position along the sideline will help him maximize his physical assets. More talented and physical corners at the next level will likely bring out the savvy route runner that he appears capable of becoming in time. Williams will also need to work toward being more consistent catching the football. He has big, strong hands and a wide catch radius to haul in passes thrown outside his frame, but he needs to eliminate what appear to be concentration drops.
How He Stacks Up: This is a loaded draft class at the wide receiver position. Most analysts have either Sammy Watkins or Marqise Lee atop their rankings, followed by a list of talented receivers such as Brandon Coleman, Jordan Matthews, Mike Evans, and Donte Moncrief. Williams falls quietly into place in the five-to-ten range on most boards.
What I believe is overlooked in Williams’ evaluation is the poor quarterback play that has limited his on-field production. Keith Price has struggled with his accuracy on deep throws, averaging a meager 6.3 yards per pass attempt in 2012. While Williams led all Washington wide receivers with 11.3 yards per reception, one has to wonder whether there is more to his game than we have seen to date. While he may not be quite as explosive in terms of taking the top off opposing defenses, Williams size and skill set are similar to those of Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.