With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
The Patriots are looking for a #3 receiver who has potential to step up an be a #2 when Moss retires. Current receiver Brandon Tate has the potential to be that guy. So does USC WR Damian Williams. Williams is a phenomenally smart route runner, with great hands and a big body. He can do everything asked of him- including returns. He can play anywhere on the field, whether it be in the middle in traffic or down the sidelines and he will get some extra yards after the catch. Williams would be a first round prospect in any other draft, but due to how many players are leaving early, he could slip to the middle of the second round. He is a great value wherever he's picked and his future potential is something the Patriots front office are sure to look at.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-1. Weight: 197.
Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
Combine 40 Time: 4.53.
03/02/2010 - USC receiver Damian Williams said he's a student of the game and takes bits and pieces from watching film on all sorts of NFL receivers. One of those is Arizona's Anquan Boldin, who has a remarkable yards-after-catch (YAC) average of 5.3 for his career. "We call him the YAC-master at our school, and that's kind of what I was at our school, the YAC-master," Williams said. "Just catch the ball and do what you do." - Sam Farmer, The LA Times
02/24/2010 - 2010 NFL DRAFT SCOUT PRE-COMBINE TOP 64: 49. *Damian Williams ??? WR, Southern California, 6-1, 195, 1-2: Earned freshman all-SEC honors in five starts at Arkansas. After transferring and sitting out 2007, he was USC's most reliable deep threat in 2008, catching 58 passes for 869 yards and nine touchdowns. He improved that last season with 70 catches for 1,010 yards and six TDs. Moves and speed won't dazzle. - Frank Cooney, USA TODAY/NFL Draft Scout
12/23/2009 - USC wide receiver Damian Williams will forego his senior year and enter the NFL draft, according to multiple sources. Williams, who caught a team-high 58 passes with six touchdowns this season, earned his college degree last week and informed friends he would not be around USC next semester because he would be training for the draft. "There's a lot of indications (he is going pro) because he graduated," USC coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday. "We're talking about it. We haven't had a serious meeting yet. His parents have been around here a lot." Williams would not say Tuesday whether he made his decision and a formal announcement is not expected until after USC plays Boston College in the Emerald Bowl on Saturday. "I don't know," he said. "I'm playing football this week. We'll talk about it later." But he also questioned the benefit of returning for another season, especially after being named USC's Most Valuable Player this season and demonstrating he can be a dangerous punt returner with two touchdowns. "How much better of a college player can I be?" Williams said. "That's what I have to weigh." Williams said he applied for an evaluation of his draft status with the NFL but did not know the results yet. The NFL is notorious for being conservative in its evaluation, however, because it does not want to encourage players to go pro. This is the second straight year Williams applied for an evaluation. - Scott Wolf, The Daily Breeze
Williams is a transfer from Arkansas to Southern Cal that enjoyed pretty much instant success since arriving in L.A. He led the Trojans in receptions during his two seasons at USC and showed the kind of speed, agility and athleticism that makes him a threat to take it all the way once the ball gets into his hands. He may lack premier top end speed but he does play the game fast and has a lot of agility and elusiveness in the open field. He also brings the added value of being a quality punt returner to the next level. He has struggled to make it through a full collegiate schedule healthy and his durability could be a concern for the next level.
Final Word: Williams, because he transferred from Arkansas following the 2006 season, played three seasons at the collegiate level despite being in school for four years. His record off the field is clean and Pete Caroll raves about his character. On the field, Williams led the Trojans offense in receving for two straight seasons as he proved to be a guy that can do it in a variety of ways. He is mainly a short-to-intermediate threat that runs impeccable routes and catches most passes near his body. He is very elusive with the ball in his hands and more than capable of being a big time playmaker at the next level. The forty time may not be as low as some prefer thus the chances of him breaking in to the first round are questionable. Should be a good pro, closer to Steve Smith than Dwayne Jarrett production wise.
Verdict: If the Patriots were to grab Williams in the middle of the 2nd round, I wouldn't complain. He has the potential to be a great receiver and, along with Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman, could provide a trio of receivers that would be extremely trustworthy. However, if we didn't grab him, I wouldn't be too sad- next year is expected to have the best receiver draft in years. Because of this, I don't think we grab Williams- we wait until next year.