Maxx Williams, the RS sophomore TE for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a breakout 2014 campaign. Williams started 10 games in 2014, totaling 36 receptions, 569 yards and 8 TDs (setting a single-season record for TDs by a tight end at Minnesota). He was named to several All-American teams, including an Academic All-American selection. In addition, he was named First Team All-Big10 and was the conference’s tight end of the year. In 2013, he started 7 games and hauled in 25 catches, 417 yards and 5 TDs. Overall, he’s played in 25 collegiate games. Physically, Williams is a well-built prospect with an athletic frame that is capable of adding more weight as he progresses through his career; he won’t turn 21-years-old until two weeks before the 2015 NFL Draft. He has the necessary overall size to be competent in the run game, while also having a lean enough build to allow for fluid open-field movements in the passing game. Athletically, Williams possesses a very good combination of adequate quickness, decent speed, plus balance and outstanding body control. He’s a powerful guy, too, that is capable of breaking tackles in an effort to gain the extra yards after the catch. Williams has very good hands and will be an asset in the passing game. He displayed excellent focus and concentration, looking the ball into his frame without being distracted by after-the-catch thoughts. On many occasions, Williams converted an unctachable pass into a completion through his focus on the ball and and understanding of the boundary. As a route runner, Williams is effective with his steps and is able to locate open spots in coverage. He has enough speed to threaten the third level, but he’s best suited for the intermediate passing game. Williams is a pretty dangerous guy after the catch who, on multiple occasions, put his athleticism on display when making a dash for the endzone. He’s not going to win with wiggle or burst, but he takes good angles, breaks tackles and stays on his feet. In the run game, Williams displayed better than expected technique and effectiveness. He has a strong base and uses his hands well. He also displayed good footwork and body positioning when sealing defenders away from the ball carrier. He’s a well-rounded talent.
BOTTOM LINE: Maxx Williams is a very good tight end prospect who projects as a starting NFL player for a very long time. While I don’t think he’ll emerge into one of the elite pass catchers at the position, I do think he’ll be an extremely valued and respected pro because of his ability to be an asset in every aspect of an offense’s gameplan. He’ll block well, he’ll catch well, and he’ll add the occasional big play from time to time. I like the fact that he’s still a young and developing player, as he has not yet hit his ceiling. He reminds me of a better run blocking version of Greg Olsen, who is now enjoying some of his best years as a pro with the Carolina Panthers. Williams could have a very similar impact in the NFL.
GRADE: 7.5 (2nd Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)