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Ex-Auburn WR Duke Williams sorry for 'mistake after mistake'

D'haquille "Duke" Williams made a smart move Tuesday.

While some NFL draft prospects with a history of disciplinary issues save their explanations or apologies for NFL scouts and personnel executives at the NFL Scouting Combine, or perhaps in an interview with a scout at the Reese's Senior Bowl, the dismissed Auburn wide receiver isn't going to let three or four months pass before showing some contrition.

The senior and 2016 NFL Draft prospect took to Instagram with a message that came across unscripted and honest.

Of course, it's the start of a challenging image-repair job.

But not every player in Williams' position has the willingness to begin that process on his own, long before he is forced to discuss his problems with NFL clubs. Take, in contrast, the comments of former Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough from the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. Bullough refused to publicly address his disciplinary issues with the Spartans, and he chided the media when given the chance to address them for NFL fans.

Williams, instead, is setting a wiser stage for his interaction with NFL clubs in the evaluation process leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft -- and he needs to. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein said Williams' draft stock has likely tumbled from third- or fourth-round status to a projection of late pick or undrafted free agent.

He has plenty to answer for.

Williams was suspended multiple times at Auburn before being dismissed by coach Gus Malzahn in midseason for a violation of team rules. He was also suspended for the Outback Bowl in January, and again during the preseason this year. His effort this season was criticized as well, and the Tigers' quarterback struggles rendered him less productive than he was a year ago.

There won't be any shortage of questions about his behavior at the 2016 combine.

But Williams is recognizing the importance of public perception, as well, and not all draft prospects come to that realization.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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