The Lass Word: Jameson Williams Would Be a Bold Move

Knee injury makes this spectacular receiver a huge question mark.

The Green Bay Packers, in the Brian Gutekunst era, have often chosen to use high draft picks to fill future needs, as opposed to immediate concerns.  Rashan Gary, Eric Stokes and AJ Dillon are good examples.  All were intended to be eventual, not immediate, replacements.  Stokes did wind up starting most of his rookie year, but only because Kevin King couldn’t stay healthy. 

 

I bring this up because I recently heard draft guru Mel Kiper make the case for the Packers to use their first round pick this year on receiver Jameson Williams.  This would be a monumental roll of the dice.  The former Alabama pass catcher tore his ACL in the national championship game on January 10th.  As a result, he would likely not be able to get on the field until late in the season, if at all.  Such a move by Gutekunst would doubtless bring a torrent of criticism, something not unusual for him.  Gutey’s selections of Jordan Love, Gary, Dillon and many more were widely condemned when they were made.  One can only imagine the heat if Gutekunst pulled the trigger on a prospect who might not even suit up until December. 

 

Prior to his knee injury, Williams was unanimously considered the top receiver in this year’s draft.  He began his college career at Ohio State, but found himself languishing behind starting receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, who, ironically, are also top prospects in this class.  The Missouri native transferred to Nick Saban’s football machine at Alabama where he became an instant star.  Playing in the SEC, the best conference in the country, Williams’ speed, hands and route running were simply too good for opposing defensive backs.  He seemed to get open at will, and with Heisman trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young throwing to him, Williams amassed 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 scores.  His TD total was third best in the nation.  His 19.9 yards per catch was seventh. 

 

Draft experts had him pegged as the first receiver off the board, maybe a top ten selection.  Now he is a major question mark.  Even when he does come back, will he be the same explosive player he was prior to blowing out the knee?  Is he still a first round pick?  Kiper says yes.  His scenario had Williams going to Green Bay, where he would take the field in time to help the Packers during their December stretch drive to the playoffs, taking over the MVS field-stretching role, and then emerging in the post season as the alternative weapon when Davante Adams gets his usual double coverage.  The idea being that, in 2023, Williams would be ready to replace Adams, who would be a free agent after being franchised for 2022. 

 

At this week’s NFL combine in Indianapolis, Williams did his best to convince scouts that the wait for his services may not be as long as they might project.  “I was hearing five to seven months (to recover)” quoted ESPN.  “But I’m hearing I’m ahead of schedule.  Hopefully, things keep going on this track and I’ll be back as soon as possible.”  Williams also said no team has told him that his injury has hurt his draft standing.   

 

But Packer fans are well aware of the usual time frame for an ACL, and it’s generally longer than five to seven months.  It took David Bakhtiari a solid year to come back, and even when he made his debut in week eighteen, it took such a toll on his knee that he was unavailable for the team’s one and only playoff game.  Elgton Jenkins is likely to miss at least half of the upcoming season.   

 

In the latest version of his mock draft, Kiper has Green Bay taking Williams with the 28th pick.  Todd McShay predicts he will go one spot earlier to Tampa Bay at 27.  Jordan Reid has him selected by Kansas City at number 30.  There is also buzz that Buffalo, in the 25th slot, may be interested, wanting to pair him with Stefon Diggs. 

 

I am not advocating for Williams, but I wouldn’t be upset if Green Bay took him.  I would be surprised though, given the Packers’ aversion to first round receivers.  There are other needs at positions like D-line, corner, ILB and tight end, all of which could benefit from a first round pick.  Is Green Bay solid enough to use its top pick on a player who will basically redshirt his first season?   

 

Good luck selling that to the fan base. 

 

 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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2 points

Comments (51)

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NickPerry's picture

March 04, 2022 at 06:19 am

Mel Kiper? Mel Kiper?? Who the hell is Mel Kiper? That's what the Colts GM said one year a long time ago and I still say. I haven't watched the ESPN version of the draft in years, instead I watch the NFL Network's version. At the end of the day, I don't care much about what Mel Kiper thinks or says.

As far as Williams goes, I think there are PLENTY of other players 28 at who could help the Packers THIS year. Now IF the Packers were to trade Aaron Rodgers, tag and trade Davante Adams, and end up with like three 1sts and a couple of 2nd round picks in doing so, then sure, take Williams at 28. Otherwise I'd take an Edge Rusher or D-Lineman in the 1st, a WR in the 2nd, and a TE in the 3rd.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:34 am

NP,
As always such sage comments.

I have actually been thinking about Jameson for about a week now with that #28 pick. Everyone knows I have been wanting a DL/EDGE Rusher for months. However, if Jameson falls and Packers medical staff believe he will be okay I think we all need to step back and contemplate. Just how good is Jameson? How much better is he than every other player still available? Is Adam's still on the team? Is Adam's tagged and only on roster for 2022?

If Jameson is a Jefferson and Chase talent and he is available I'd be very dissapointed if Gutey passed on him. Ted Thompson certainly would never take him. However, I believe Gutey is much better in thinking out of the box. If Jameson is as talented as many say some team certainly will move up 1 or 2 spots ahead of the Packers and take him. Just the way it seems to work as all teams know how desperate the Packers are for WR's.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 04, 2022 at 05:23 pm

If I were the team that wanted him, I wouldn't move up in front of the Packers to take him. I would stay put, knowing the Packers weren't going to take him in the 1st round. Taking a WR in the 1st round, especially one who wouldn't contribute this season, is very out of character, even for Gutey.

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13TimeChamps's picture

March 04, 2022 at 09:55 am

Agree with most of your post, except "a TE in the 3rd".

Richard Rodgers, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara. Even J. Finley who produced a whopping 20 TDs in 6 seasons along with his maddening drops and questionable attitude.

All TE's drafted in the 3rd round. I have no idea why, but GB drafting a TE in the 3rd round always ends up in disappointment.

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Gee's picture

March 04, 2022 at 03:03 pm

Yep it seems GB fourth round O-Linemen success over the past decade, have somehow the reserve effect on 3 rd TE. So yeah no TE in the third please.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 04, 2022 at 05:34 pm

Let's change the trend and draft a FHOF'er TE in the 3rd this year... (To make up for all the $&!5 TEs we've drafted over the years...) Daniel Bellinger maybe?

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13TimeChamps's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:05 pm

Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, Bahk all drafted in the 4th round.

Not sure how the 3rd round failures for TE's can be explained. I know there is a long time prominent CHTV poster (LH) who seems to think Richard Rodgers is one of GB's all time great TE's. Not understanding that logic, but I'd have to disagree.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:42 pm

The more important question is why did we draft Rodgers in the 3rd round, when he would've been easily available in the 5th? ; ) Going over that draft years later, it was a terrible draft overall for the Packers. Khyri Thornton and Richard Rodgers both in the 3rd round was devastatingly poor drafting IMO... The beginning of the end for TT.

Davante Adams is wicked good, but it did take 3 full years for him to develop. Ha Ha just wasn't as good as we all had hoped.

Cory Linsley was wicked good, but Carl Bradford, Jared Abbrederis, and Demetris Goodson were all complete busts. Jeff Janis just never really developed.

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Coldworld's picture

March 05, 2022 at 08:46 am

In hindsight we now know that that draft was the first when TT, the great talent evaluator had crossed a line was no longer himself. Murphy and the team did nothing about that till the roster was a wafer thin Swiss cheese and half a decade of Rodgers was wasted when he was a better player than he is now (despite MVO awards). Our current cap malaise has roots in the attempt to recover from that era.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 07, 2022 at 12:09 am

Sad, but true Cw...

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2022 at 08:40 am

See, this is the kind of stupid lying shit that makes me detest you.

Richard Rodgers had one of the best seasons for a TE in Packer history. That’s not the same thing as being one of the all time greats.

You are a despicable person.

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Coldworld's picture

March 05, 2022 at 09:05 am

2015? 500 yards and 8 TDs? He never came close to that again though, here or in Philly. Not bad at all for that year, though, if not quite at the level of Finley and Tonyan’s best. Before that, our TEs really had not been primary receivers as much. Rodgers was the least effective blocker of the 3, none of whom excelled in that area.

Green Bay really hasn’t had a stellar TE in terms of yards. There are more than 25 TE seasons of over 1,000 yards around the league. Green Bay has never come close. Our best yardage goes back to Paul Coffman in 1983: 814 and 11 TDs. Tonyan had 11 on under 600 yards in 2020.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2022 at 10:46 am

Coldworld, Rodgers caught 58 passes that year, the second most for a TE in our 100 history.

I can acknowledge that while still agreeing with everything you said. He had one of the best seasons of a Packer TE, ever.

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13TimeChamps's picture

March 05, 2022 at 09:12 am

I don't even remember how our 'feud' started, but I remember when you elevated it to personal by petty name calling and then making a derogatory comment about my wife. Now that was despicable and something I won't forget. But I guess it's just part of your pathology.

Maybe you should stick to reminding everybody what our 3 year 'regular season' record under MLF is for the 58th time....you know, just in case we've forgotten. I think that would be just super duper!

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stockholder's picture

March 04, 2022 at 06:49 am

This Kids got it. But he is damaged goods. Would TT take him? Doubt it. He'd look to the bargain later. Character was the #1 priority. TTs solution here? Trade down take the extra pick. If only he wasn't damaged goods. He would be the No Brainer.

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Since'61's picture

March 04, 2022 at 09:12 am

If he wasn’t damaged goods he would be long gone before the Packers pick at #28. Thanks, Since ‘61

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13TimeChamps's picture

March 04, 2022 at 10:00 am

Is TT still around? Did I miss something?

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Gee's picture

March 04, 2022 at 03:04 pm

He's frozen in carbonite in the basement, waiting for his next chance to strike.

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dobber's picture

March 04, 2022 at 06:43 pm

Carbonite reference immediately earns an upvote from me!

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

March 04, 2022 at 06:54 am

A definite scenario where the best player available rule is tested. I personally see them likely taking an Edge player as the both immediate and short term need at the position is likely to be high. However, if you are looking at your big board and are ranking the players it would be hard not to have Williams the highest on the board if he slips. If we are talking a brief rebuild or reload having a legit #1 WR who is on a rookie deal helps as we move on from Davante and perhaps Aaron.

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stockholder's picture

March 04, 2022 at 07:10 am

Pickens is another one with a knee injury. So I could see Gutey taking a defensive player #1.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 04, 2022 at 10:21 am

Pickens ran a %'in 4.40 last night. I doubt Gutey is worried about his knee. It's all about where he has him on his board.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 04, 2022 at 04:00 pm

Pickens is solid at the #28. Not a one-trick pony. Prefer a trade down for another two pick and take him there.

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jurp's picture

March 04, 2022 at 07:23 am

Picking a speed position player with an ACL tear with our #1 pick? No, just no. Way too risky, but easy for someone whose job doesn't depend on the pick to recommend (full disclosure, I can't stand Mel Kiper).

In addition, Kiper's logic in talking about Williams being the go-to receiver when Adams is double-covered in the playoffs is ridiculously wrong. First, AR will have had only a month or so to practice with Williams, so there's no way he could build his vaunted "trust" with him, and secondly, as we've seen, AR throws to a double-covered Adams even if other receivers are uncovered. Kiper is just spinning fiction here, not fact.

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mrtundra's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:01 am

IMO, if we pick Williams with our 1st round pick, I think it means we did not get a deal done with Davante. I'd look at Edge or DL for our 1st round pick and skip the chance of getting a damaged player at #28. Olave may be available, at #28, and I think I'd rather have him than an "injured" Williams as our 1st pick, if Gute wants a WR there. I think it all depends on Davante's deal getting done. Like I said, Edge or DL might make more sense at #28.

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Coldworld's picture

March 04, 2022 at 07:47 am

ACL tears generally don’t end careers if the damage isn’t more widespread, but what on earth would be the point of using a high pick on a medical redshirt if the team wants Rodgers back? It is extremely unlikely that the player is able to play at full capability even in the post season and then would be asking him to do so with no off season and off no practice time. That’s not particularly credible physically or mentally.

Even if we don’t get Rodgers back, our cap suggests we will still need to use early picks on players with a strong chance of contributing this year. Probably not the best time for a gamble pick even without Rodgers.

The line between bold and foolhardy is a thin one. To me this move, at this time and in our cap position would be the latter. This will be a draft for now year with Rodgers out of necessity. Without Rodgers we are still going to need contributions from draftees this year unless we want to rely on SFAs and late round miracles.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 04, 2022 at 11:31 am

The answers will soon be known. If AR does just a 2-year deal, using GB's first round pick on a guy who can only help in year two of AR's remaining stay in GB seems goofy to me. Worse, we'd be writing how Williams is really just a rookie in 2023 since he got no TC, no preseason games, hell, almost no regular season games. And then there is the legendary trust issues.

I never want to pass on the next HOF wide receiver. That said, the win now time frame would be truncated. What if like so many rookie WRs, he needs a year and his first real good year is 2024?

Edit: Remember, Williams is just a name to me. I haven't watched him play. It is altogether possible that watching film of him playing might bring out considerably more enthusiasm in me for selecting him.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 04, 2022 at 12:02 pm

More than half our offense is Dillon and Jones.

On the other 30 plays……we’ll have to replace the 10 that went to Adams. We could use Lazard more, and Amari, and we could throw more to the TE, but I still think we’ll be a little short.

Given our history, we’re unlikely to take a WR with our first round pick. Jennings, Jordy, Jones, Cobb, Adams……all Day 2 picks. MVS, EQ, Lazard, and the rest were Day 3 or UDFAs. So those are the receivers we’ll be looking at…..the ones ranked between 50 and 100.

Like Robinson, from Kentucky. I watched him in a bowl game this year and he impressed me quite a bit, so even though he’s not a big body, he’s a guy who can really make plays. Quick, tough, a real good runner.

Personally, I’d like scouting reports on guys we might actually take at #28. Almost certainly a defender, like Wyatt or Leal or Hill or Pitre. I think Edge has to be consideration, although I don’t think the pickings will be that good ar #28.

If you wanted to draft a guy at #28 who would be the most likely to improve the offense next year, you’d either be looking at TE or a RT.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

March 04, 2022 at 07:55 am

Gee, who would have predicted that King wouldn’t stay healthy and Stokes would have to start his rookie season. Certainly everybody!

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mrtundra's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:03 am

BTW, this is the first time I've heard anyone speak of Elgton Jenkins, in a long time. How is he progressing with his injury? Will he miss half the season, as mentioned in this article?

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PatrickGB's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:16 am

I read somewhere that he is progressing well. But then I also heard the same things about Bakh.

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Coldworld's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:27 am

LaFleur, I think, commented this week that they expect him fully back sometime this season. His injury was earlier than Back’s and he’s younger, so that’s plausible on typical recovery time. It essentially tells us he will be on the PUP to start the year. I’d bet on sometime in November being the earliest we might see him.

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Roadrunner23's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:09 am

Pass

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PatrickGB's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:21 am

It would not surprise me. Gute seems to think long term when it comes to the draft. He uses FA to plug and play around the drafted players. Yet it would not bode well for this year if he were to do so on a WR.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 04, 2022 at 08:43 am

Oh yes, then we can pass more. We don’t need defenders or blockers, just more Superduper WRs. Then we can pass more.

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 04, 2022 at 10:36 am

If Williams was such a can't miss talent, how did he only catch 15 balls at OSU and could not beat out Wilson or Olave. Has just one productive year and declaring for the draft as an injured Junior.

Not only is his injury a huge question mark (Gutey will recall Harrell and King), his college career had question marks before that. And Gutey likes to draft players with consistent production. Boom or Bust pick.

Gutey needs to select players on day one and two that can contribute in 2022 given the roster/cap issues he is facing. There will be outstanding WRs at 28 are ready to play now.

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stockholder's picture

March 04, 2022 at 12:06 pm

I still have reservations about the bad knee guys. Look at Beckham in the super-bowl.

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jont's picture

March 04, 2022 at 12:55 pm

MLF must have nightmares about the receiver room. Where are the pass catchers?

Devante is thinking about selling his house. Amari needs to make a really, really big jump. Lazard is a good blocker. MVS and EQ have hit their ceilings. Tonyan is coming off a bad knee. Deguara, really? And Cobb is over the hill.

Bleak. The situation is bleak.

I've said it before, Gute needs to fill camp with receivers, as many as he can. Find another 7th round Donald Driver.

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Coldworld's picture

March 04, 2022 at 04:25 pm

Driver took about 4 seasons to establish himself if I recall.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 04, 2022 at 05:28 pm

We return our #2, #3, and #4 pass catchers. (Jones, Lazard, and Dillon).

At the WR spots, Lazard is going to be a starter, because he can help in the run game. The other spot is wide open. Personally, I think we’ll fill this spot “by committee” until somebody wins it outright, and I think we’ll get a Day 2 WR in the draft.

Amari Rodgers will see more targets this year, and we’ll probably throw to the TE more.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 04, 2022 at 06:31 pm

What TE? ; ) We definitely need a real TE. I do expect Gutey to draft at least two WRs this year, but I've said that many times without it happening. In the deepest WR draft in history, we took zero WRs, and then the next year we drafted three... SMH

In my perfect scenario, we tag-n-trade DA for at minimum a 2nd round pick, which we use on Watson or Pierce...

If we were to trade AR, I would use both our 1st round picks on defense and both our 2nd round picks on WRs. (As well as the 2nd we got for DA.) Then come back and use our 3rd round pick on a decent TE. (Not slow, not weak, not someone who drops every 3rd pass....)

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stockholder's picture

March 04, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Watson is already top 50. Looked very Smooth at the combine. A couple say he might make late 1st.

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stockholder's picture

March 04, 2022 at 09:57 pm

Adams bought a house in Los Vegas.

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Nate-1980's picture

March 04, 2022 at 01:14 pm

This guys tape is awesome, so fast, he’s probably the best receiver but he’s hurt.. I hope they draft a receiver in rd one , I’d like burks if he’s still there.. They need reinforcements at wr so I hope at the latest it’s rd 2 because there’s some really hood ones this year..

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stockholder's picture

March 04, 2022 at 03:17 pm

Burks would be a good choice. He ran 4.55. Not 4.3 like projected.

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crayzpackfan's picture

March 04, 2022 at 03:44 pm

Keeping this short. Hell of an athlete and receiver. But tired of drafting #1 picks on players who won’t see the field in year one.
At 28 I’d like to see them take BPA at DL,Edge, or OT in no particular order. That or trade down slightly to very, very early 2nd and try to add something in the late 3rd or early 4th.

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HarryHodag's picture

March 04, 2022 at 04:55 pm

I saw some footage of Garrett Wilson on ESPN today. I was blown away. 4.3 speed, tall, incredible route runner. Great hands. This guy has 'pro star' written all over him. The Packers likely won't get a shot at him. In their underwear most of the receivers look similar in performance. Wilson stood out. Another name to watch.

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BirdDogUni's picture

March 04, 2022 at 05:16 pm

Olave ran a 4.26 yesterday too... Check out his tape.

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crayzpackfan's picture

March 04, 2022 at 06:42 pm

Trevor Penning OT UNI is a beast at the combine. I doubt he’ll fall to 28 but if he’s there, what a pile driver he’d be. With Baks age and injuries and Turner aging, Penning would certainly give us options to move on from those contracts at some point. I just hope we can draft a day one starter. Exciting time of year. Question for you guys. If the Center from Iowa drops to 28, do you take him or still go BPA at WR, DL, or Edge?

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

March 05, 2022 at 06:16 pm

I wouldn't say that drafting Linderbaum couldn't happen. We don't know what is going to happen to Jenkins this year and whether the Packers foresee him eventually as a Tackle . I like both Penning and Linderbaum and having a lot of depth on the OL has kept us competitive. Wouldn't be a sexy pick, but I like protecting our QB and creating holes for our RBs and those guys would certainly help.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 04, 2022 at 10:28 pm

Stating the obvious, the point of taking Jameson Williams at the bottom of the first is that you potentially get a top-10 talent on the cheap. A guy the Packers otherwise would not get a sniff at. Plus you have the fifth-year option with a first-round pick. I get that he will probably have a lost year. Most wide receivers take a few years to develop anyway. Put an athlete on the bench to watch Davante Adams up close? He might develop faster than we all expect. I think this would be a smart move. All of that said, I don't think it is worth ruling anyone in or out as a first-round pick until we see how this who drama shakes out.

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