Former Auburn wide receiver D'haquille "Duke" Williams' college football career came to an end when coach Gus Malzahn dismissed him from the team Monday night.
In the senior's corner is tape from his only full season at AU, his junior year in 2014, in which he was just as productive and more reliable with his hands than fellow receiver Sammie Coates, who was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. But everything else will be a drag on his draft status: His lack of effort during Auburn's disappointing 3-2 start to this season, his dismissal and reputation as a bad teammate, and according to NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein, his lack of athleticism.
"He has great size, and he has very good hands and he's tough, but if you're not a good locker-room guy, and I've heard from scouts that he's a selfish player and not a good guy, then you better have a great trait like speed. He doesn't. Size isn't enough," Zierlein said. "He's not a Marcus Peters, who was a first-round pick after being kicked off his (college) team. I'll bet everything I have on that. Big wide receivers that don't get open are a dime a dozen."
Peters, a cornerback, was dismissed from the Washington Huskies last year after failing to get along with a new coaching staff. However, he recovered well enough to be picked No. 18 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Peters, in fact, reconciled with UW coach Chris Petersen and participated in the Huskies' pro-day event. Zierlein said two wide receivers that missed action in their last year of college and were still drafted high, Dez Bryant and Dorial Green-Beckham, avoided a draft-day disaster because they had athleticism superior to Williams'.
"I don't see enough athleticism from him to be anything more than a physical No. 2 receiver, at best, in the league," Zierlein said. "Tape says he should be drafted inside the first four rounds, maybe the first three, but his character and athleticism are going to probably make him a third-day guy (rounds 4-7). And if the Auburn staff can't support his character when scouts ask about it, he might not even get picked. As long as what he did to get kicked off isn't criminal, he should go third day, but he's really hurt himself."
Williams caught 45 passes for 730 yards and five touchdowns as a junior last year, but with Auburn struggling at the quarterback position, his production was limited through five games this season. That production reached its lowest point Saturday, when Williams caught only one pass for 17 yards in a 35-21 win over San Jose State.
Williams (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) played at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College prior to arriving at Auburn. At AU, he was suspended for last season's Outback Bowl against Wisconsin, and again before this season began. He also suggested earlier this year, via social media, that he might leave the program.
Malzahn, citing only a violation of team rules, took care of that for him on Monday.