When Art Briles brought his spread offense to Baylor in 2008, the Bears didn’t exactly flourish into a perennial threat. That was until Robert Griffin III put together one of the most impressive seasons in college football history in 2011.
Griffin brought the Bears onto the national scene and some of his supporting cast began to receive increased attention for it. One such player was wide receiver Terrance Williams.
With Griffin slinging him passes, Williams enjoyed a breakout junior season and emerged as a dangerous playmaker with good speed and an eye for the end zone. His 59 catches and 11 touchdowns caught some attention from people around the NFL, but most figured he was merely a product of the system and the quarterback. But he was out to dispel that notion the following season.
Williams became Baylor’s primary target in 2012 and thrived even without Griffin, leading the nation in receiving yards and earning first-team All-American honors.
Now, Williams is regarded as one of the top wide receivers in this year’s draft class and would seem to be a good fit in New England. He’s much quicker moving on routes than simply running in a straight line and knows to use his big frame to his advantage in the open field. He also uses the sideline quite well and is great outside the numbers, which would help compensate for the Patriots’ loss of Brandon Lloyd.
Other receivers have gotten most of the publicity heading into this draft, but Williams is one of the few who would help solve one of the Patriots’ biggest problems.
Editor’s Note: NESN.com will evaluate and analyze one potential Patriots draft prospect every day from March 27 up until the start of the NFL Draft on April 25. Williams is the fifth player in that series.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 208 pounds
40-Time: 4.52 seconds
Vertical: 32.5 inches
Williams had one of the most productive seasons for a receiver in recent memory. Williams’ senior stats of 97 catches, 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns rival Michael Crabtree‘s freshman season at Texas Tech, which included 134 grabs, nearly 2,000 yards and 22 scores. So, with 202 career catches, over 3,300 yards and 27 touchdowns in basically three seasons, production should never be a question with Williams, even at the next level.
Tom Brady currently doesn’t have many reliable options at wide receiver, and the Patriots will more than likely address that need in the draft. Williams seems to be a fit outside the numbers in the Patriots’ offense with the ability to come in and contribute on the first day of the regular season. He also has experience on special teams, both returning punts and kicks for Baylor, which would only add value. That sort of preparation and versatility might be more attractive than future potential to Bill Belichick, given Brady is aging and the Patriots are coming upon their final few championship chances.
Likelihood He’s Around at No. 29:
Good chance. Wide receiver is one of the few positions stocked with talent in this year’s draft class and there could be as many as eight different players that could sneak their way into the first round. Williams is on that list and, while he seems to be belong in the second round, the Rams (22nd overall), Vikings (23d and 25th) and Texans (27th) could all be interested.
Game Tape breakdown:
Strengths: Williams is a very strong route runner who uses his speed and size to his advantage. He creates a cushion between he and the defender downfield and consistently finds the open space in zone defenses. He uses the sideline to his advantage, a la Lloyd, and has good acceleration and elusiveness after the catch. He’s also a good blocker.
Weaknesses: Williams is quicker than fast, so he won’t be running many go routes downfield. He allows physical defensive backs to irritate him at the line and doesn’t finish routes at times when he’s not the primary target. He’s also not a natural hands catcher.
Scout Williams for yourself below.
Monday: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina