The Detroit Lions are placing their first-round pick, WR Jameson Williams, on the Reserve/NFI list. After tearing his ACL in last year’s National Championship game, the Lions drafted him with the intention to put him on the NFI list.
Detroit is optimistic that he will be available by midseason. Our very own Dr. Jess Flynn doesn’t agree with the logistics of the Lions’ strategic move.
I think that when a team chooses to draft a rookie with a known football injury, they should not be able to put them on NFI for said injury. (ie they should have to pay them their full base salary, not "negotiate" one for the time they're on NFI). https://t.co/JJtjA50AIB
— DocFlynn (@DocFlynnNFL) August 23, 2022
The 33rd Team’s Head of Scouting, T.J. McCreight, believes Williams will be back sooner than later because of his impressive work ethic.
“Williams is a hard worker and a high character person, so I would suspect he should be healthy soon,” McCreight said. “Because of his injury he never ran a 40 or did any combine drills, but watching the film you can see that he is a talented player. He is tall and long but very lean. Williams runs very fast and his speed will jump out at you when you study him. He does need to get physically stronger, especially in his upper body.”
The Lions invested serious resources into the Alabama speedster after they traded up for him in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. They traded picks 32, 34 and 66 to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to the 12th pick where they selected Williams.
Williams burst onto the scene with the Crimson Tide last season after finishing 2021 with 79 catches, 1,572 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. He also averaged 9.5 yards after the catch per reception, according to Sports Info Solutions. That ranks higher than fellow first-round rookies Drake London (Atlanta Falcons), Garrett Wilson (New York Jets and Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints).
Williams would’ve likely been Detroit’s main deep threat this season, but they’ll have to wait a bit for that to come to fruition. In the meantime, the Lions and quarterback Jared Goff will have to rely on the likes of Amon-Ra St.Brown and D.J. Chark.
St.Brown had a promising rookie season as he led the team with 90 receptions and 913 receiving yards. Chark only played in four games last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars after suffering a broken ankle, but he’s shown some potential in the past. He caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2019. The team also has tight end T.J. Hockenson, who finished with 61 catches and 583 yards last season.
When Williams does come back, he could round out the Lions’ receiving core quite well.