Rookie Season Expectations for Jameson Williams


Recovering from a torn ACL, how quickly can Jameson Williams ascend the Lions depth chart?

Jameson Williams
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Jameson Williams Expectations

A.J. Reilly: Jameson Williams coming off an ACL injury touted to be the potentially the best wide receiver in this draft class. What do we expect? 

Paul Rochon: Obviously a lot of this is dependent on how soon he plays and something we saw in Detroit with a rookie last year, Cade Cunningham entered the season injured for the Pistons.

And I know it's a different sport, but we're local in Detroit. Obviously, we're all paying attention. He was our hyped-up, number one pick, he missed training camp or whatever they call it at the NBA. He missed all the pre-season and when he finally did play, it took him a while to get into the swing of things. It wasn't an overnight thing. 

I don't know how soon Jameson Williams is going to play but I believe it will be within the first four games of the season. I do think he will play that soon. Some people have said there's a chance he's ready for the first or second week of the season, but that's probably a bit optimistic. Assuming he plays in the first four games of the season, he's going to take time to get acclimated.

He's going to take time to trust his body. If you talk to any athlete, that's recovered, especially from an ACL injury, in modern times, the biggest recovery is not physical anymore, but it's mental. It's trusting your body and being able to do the things that make you that elite-level athlete.

Jameson Williams Better Than Amon-Ra St. Brown

That's going to take time. What I want to see. It's not going to be numbers or catches or touchdowns. What I want to see by the end of this season is Jameson Williams, ascend to our clear number one receiver on this team. I know that a lot of people like Amon-Ra St. Brown and he had a nice breakout season last year as a rookie.

And he did, but he is not nearly as good as Jameson Williams. He's not. Talent-wise it's not even close. I want to see by the end of the season, Jameson Williams, we don't have a stacked roster. I like DJ Chark. He's a really good second option. Amon-Ra St. Brown, decent. You have guys like Quintez Cephus, but we don't have any guys that should impede… I'm not forgetting about Josh Reynolds.

I'm just naming a couple of guys. Quintas Cephus might not make the roster, honestly. Cause we have ducked that receiver. Everyone says, oh, we don't have talent. We have depth but they're all almost a similar level, right? Josh Reynolds and Quintas Cephus of the world. They're all the third or fourth option guys on a team.

And we have a bunch of those guys. We don't have many number one option guys on this team. Jameson Williams on this team by the end of the season should ascend to that point where he is the clear number one option on this team as a receiver in the receiver room. And if he doesn't, I will say that's a disappointing rookie season. 

Jameson Williams Needs To Be That Number One Guy

It doesn't mean he leads us in catches, targets, none of that. It's by the end of the season, those last few games, he should be clear-cut the number one option. The number one guy that Jared Goff is looking for and you know what that means. It's not a numbers thing. He needs to establish himself as that number one option.

A.J. Reilly: No, it's going back to even what I said about Hutch is you're creating necessary moments for the other team to have to game plan for you. If you're the number one guy. Which is then going to open up guys, for catches like St. Brown and, Reynolds and Chark and all those guys.

So I agree with you. I want to see him go into that position, but going actually to what you said about the mental aspect of recovering from an ACL injury. I want him to get out there and play free. That's my expectation, right? Play free. Run those crisp nice routes that he's touted like. If I'm not mistaken, he was considered to be one of the best route runners in this draft, crisp, clean, great route runner. With an ACL injury, those quick cuts and all that is going to take a lot of mental fortitude to get over that.

So I want him to get out there and not just be the guy that has to run down the field. I want to see him turning DBs around and making those quick comeback cuts those deep-out cuts, right? The nice sharp double moves. That's kinda my expectation. This for me, for Jameson Williams this year is I don't really know how to term it, but it's like using that fifth-year option to make sure you get four good years out of him.

Does that make sense?

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