Roundtable: Jameson Williams Expectations, Combine Takeaways

Roundtable: Jameson Williams Expectations, Combine Takeaways

1.) What was your major takeaway from the combine?

Detroit Lions Roundtable: Jameson Williams Expectations, Combine Takeaways

Christian Booher: I think my biggest takeaway from the combine is the depth of the cornerback class. There are different flavors with many of the top prospects, but there’s a lot to like about each.

With cornerback being a major position of need for the Lions, there are a number of different directions the organization could go. I was very impressed with Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell, who is my top prospect at the position after the week in Indianapolis.

Vito Chirco: My major takeaway is that there appears to be a strong group of players on the perimeter – both at cornerback and wide receiver. Specifically, at receiver, this draft is loaded with some fleet-of-foot players, including Washington’s Rome Odunze, LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr., Florida’s Ricky Pearsall and Texas’ Xavier Worthy (who posted a combine-record 40-yard dash time of 4.21). Michigan’s Cornelius Johnson, a mid-round prospect and potential Lions target, also tested extremely well. He recorded an impressive 9.90 Relative Athletic Score, placing him 32nd out of 3,063 wideouts that have participated in the combine since 1987.

I fully expect Brad Holmes to address both cornerback and wide receiver in this April’s draft.

2.) How would you react if Brad Holmes targeted an offensive player in the first round?

Booher: To be honest, I would not be surprised. His track record prioritizes fit over need, so I could definitely see the organization landing an offensive player in the first round.

Two areas I could see the Lions targeting early are wide receiver and offensive line. There are several players who could fit at either position, so seeing the Lions add a high-end prospect at either spot would not be a surprise in my opinion.

Chirco: I’d be very disappointed. The Lions have far too many needs on the defensive side of the ball – specifically at cornerback and EDGE – to do that. Remember, Detroit could also use an upgrade on the interior of the defensive line alongside Alim McNeill.

I understand that taking a corner in the first round doesn’t have a ton of value attached to it. Yet, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Holmes should prioritize improving the team’s defense with the No. 29 overall pick. I’d still rather have Missouri EDGE Darius Robinson or Penn State EDGE Chop Robinson than any offensive player at that spot.

Additionally, I think Holmes will ultimately make the right move and select a defender with the 29th pick.

3.) What one combine prospect impressed you the most on both offense and defense?

Booher: For defense, it was Quinyon Mitchell. To me, he displayed the best combination of physicality and speed at the cornerback position. I was also very impressed by Chop Robinson’s speed at his size.

On offense, it’s hard to not be wowed by Xavier Worthy’s record-setting performance. The wideout broke the record for the 40-yard dash, in an impressive all-around showing. It was disappointing that Marvin Harrison Jr. didn’t test, as I was intrigued to see what his performance would be in the on-field drills.

Chirco: I’m going to go with Penn State tight end Theo Johnson and Rutgers cornerback Max Melton.

Johnson showcased some superb athleticism on Friday night in Indianapolis. He finished second among tight ends in the 40-yard dash (4.57), the broad jump (10’5”) and the vertical jump (39.5”), plus first in the 20-yard shuttle. He also amassed a 9.99 Relative Athletic Score, the second-highest RAS for a tight end since 1987 (accounting for a total of 1,105 TEs). Due to Sam LaPorta, tight end isn’t a pressing need for the Lions. However, Johnson, as a complementary piece at the position, would still be a nice target for the organization in the fifth round.

Like Johnson, Melton will go down as one of the best performers of the entire 2024 combine. Among all cornerbacks, he finished first in the broad jump (11’4”), fourth in the vertical jump (40.5 inches) and sixth in the 40-yard dash (4.39). He’d be a solid Day 2 find for Detroit.

4.) Who is a kicker the Lions can add to their roster?

Booher: I think this could be the year the Lions draft a kicker. It seems that the organization likes Michael Badgley, so adding another veteran option may be out of the cards.

Among the prospects, Alabama’s Will Reichard really stands out for his ability to be consistent and hit long kicks. The Lions need a reliable option with a big leg, so I could see the organization targeting Reichard in an effort to give it a solid contributor from 50-plus yards.

Chirco: I’m going to go with Alabama kicker Will Reichard, the NCAA’s career points leader (547 points), whom the Lions could likely add as an undrafted free agent this April.

Reichard – who is also the Crimson Tide’s career record-holder for field goals and 50-plus yard FG makes (10) – made 22 of his 25 field-goal tries in his final season in Tuscaloosa. And, he finished his collegiate career with a field-goal percentage of 84 percent.

I think he’d provide great competition for incumbent Lions kicker Michael Badgley. Plus, in my eyes, Reichard would be a high-quality undrafted free agent acquisition by Holmes.

5.) What do you expect from Jameson Williams in 2024?

Booher: I think Jameson Williams will be excellent for the Lions in 2024. He showed plenty of flashes in 2023, and he seems to be in good standing with both Dan Campbell and Ben Johnson entering the offseason.

Williams has legitimate game-changing speed, with the ability to take the Lions’ offense to another level. I’m really excited to see how the Lions utilize him in a full-time role, and there seems to be optimism within the organization that he will take another big step forward next season.

Chirco: For as good as “Jamo” was down the stretch of last season, he still only accumulated 354 receiving yards and three total touchdowns (one TD as a runner). Conservatively, I expect Williams to produce No. 3-caliber receiver numbers in 2024. I believe he’ll end up with about 50 catches, 650 reception yards and four-five TD catches.

It’ll be a significant step up for the 2022 No. 12 overall pick, but more will still be expected of him as his career progresses.

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