After a successful freshman season (three starts, 20 catches, 316 yards, three scores), Williams took a large step forward in 2014. He received third-team All-ACC recognition by catching 57 passes for a whopping 1,030 yards (18.1 per) and six touchdowns while freshman Deshaun Watson ran the show. Hoping to parlay that performance into an All-American junior year, Williams instead nearly saw his career end after fracturing his neck by hitting his helmet against the goal post on a touchdown catch in the season opener. He was cleared for contact before the 2016 season, however, and took advantage of his health in a big way. The second-team Walter Camp All-American and first-team All-ACC pick caught 84 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 scores, putting up highlight-reel plays on several occasions.
Prototypical height, weight, speed prospect. Fills out the uniform as well as any receiver in college football. Sells vertical push to create an early hip turn from backpedaling cornerbacks. Uses hands to create late separation on vertical throws. Long arms and big hands can go get throws at their highest point, snatching 50/50 balls away from his in-air competitors. Ball tracking is impeccable. Able to track it inside, outside or over his shoulder. Hands catcher who plucks it away from his body. Has body control to dig out the low balls and contort to grab throws Deshaun Watson leaves behind him. Concentration ramps up when routes take him between the hashes. Works middle of the field with no reservations about what is lingering. Has been asked to work all three levels of the field at Clemson. Can make cornerbacks miss after the catch and extend his play. Needs more commitment as a run blocker but has frame and strength to make a difference as a blocker.
Natural pass catcher who will occasionally run into focus drops. Drops issue found him over second half of the season. Route work lacks focus and energy. Creates very little indecision from cornerbacks with his head fakes and jab steps. Ability to win with physical traits could dry up on next level. Could use better understanding of route leverage to open wider passing lanes for quarterbacks. Plant-and-go at the stem lacks crispness as does acceleration from his cuts. Average release quickness. Gets hung up by press corners with a good lead jab. Needs to play to his size. Gets muscled against sideline too often. Fumbled twice this season. Neck injury forced him to miss entire 2015 season so until he clears combine medicals, teams may have a red flag on him.
Sources Tell Us
"Really pretty looking when you watch him down on the field but he's not there yet. I think he'll get there but he's not there yet. I don't think he's going to run as fast as people think. When college players get up here and find out that cornerbacks are faster and more physical, there is an adjustment period. I think it will take him some time to figure things out but I think he'll do it. He's going to be good, I just don't know if he's going to be a star." -- NFC Pro Personnel Director
Williams looks the part of a WR1 and has shown an ability to work all three levels of the field after coming back from his 2015 neck injury. Williams is tough enough to be a high-volume target while working the middle of the field and his size and ball skills make him a formidable foe in the end zone. He'll have to be coached up with his routes and releases, but he has the talent to become a big safety blanket for a young quarterback.