I'm debating the merits of doing a series of "Scouting the Draft" fanposts that look at potential Seahawks' Draft targets. Ideally I'd put a new one out every 7-10 days between now and Draft time. Let me know if you guys are (or aren't) interested in that sort of thing so I know if it's worth my time. Also, tell me if there's anyone in particular you want to see a scouting report on (caveat, there had better be public film of the player somewhere for me to work with).
For our first installment, we're looking at Baylor WR Terrance Williams. From the mock drafts I've read, people seem to think Williams should go in the 40-55 range. I'm not much of a mock drafter, but from the game-tape I wouldn't be surprised if the Seahawks pulled a Bruce Irvin special; trading down in the first round then "reaching" for someone whom we had painted crosshairs onto.
For the measurables, Williams is around 6'2, 205, although I suspect he'll add 10-15 pounds to his upper body after he gets into an NFL strength and conditioning program. He's certainly got the frame for it. He's fast, even by the standards of NFL WRs (has a shot at a 4.3 40, although the low 4.4 range is more likely), and has decent, though not exceptional leaping ability.
Terrance Williams vs Iowa State (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
Terrance Williams vs Texas,OSU,Oklahoma,Missouri (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
Terrance Williams vs West Virginia (2012) (via TTN2810)
The first thing that jumps out at me when watching Williams on tape is how well he attacks zone coverage. For example, check out the play against Texas at the 0:19 second mark. As soon as he gets behind the defender playing the short zone, Terrance cuts inside, and slows down, hanging out in the empty space between the LBs in their shallow zone and the DBs (2 safeties and a corner) who are playing deep. Net result, he's open by a mile for an easy catch. Another good example is at 0:57 against WVU. Williams settles underneath the corner and outside of the LB, and again catches the ball with nobody even close to him.
The second thing I noticed about Williams is that he's fast. Not crazy DHB/DeSean Jackson sort of fast, but fast enough that his speed "tilts the field" as he can win a footrace against any given CB. There's several burned defenders on this tape but my two favorites are 6:12 against Ok. State and 2:06 vs WVU. In the former, a safety has him 1-on-1. Terrance burns him like a boy scout with a container of propane, then pulls away from the pursing CB on his way to the endzone. In the latter, Williams outruns the corner with ease, then does a nice job adjusting to the ball in flight and making a basket catch in the endzone.
Williams didn't get pressed very often in college. No doubt this is partially a nod to his speed, and partially because his size and strength make him difficult to press effectively. Terrance does need to improve his technique in this area, as he tends to keep defenders at arms length and try to run around them (1:13 vs WVU for example) rather than fighting through the contact. That worked fine at Baylor, but in a West Coast scheme based on timing and location, allowing yourself to get re-routed at the line that easily is a recipe for disaster.
There's two things that will push Williams down on Draft day. The first (and most important) is his hands. On some plays, Terrace makes the spectacular degree-of-difficulty catches that make you think he's got jedi powers. Other times, he'll drop the sort of easy balls that my six year old cousin pulls down reliably. I dunno if the butterfingers are a mental thing that can be fixed, or if he's just cursed with really small hands. (be sure and look at this when they get measured at the combine). Whatever the case is, a wide-reciever who drops passes is always a high risk player.
The other thing that will hurt Williams draft stock is how little Baylor asked him to do in college. While their passing is pretty sophisticated, Williams part of the route-tree was probably more complex on his high-school team. In college about 90% of his routes were slants, hooks, and gos. Timing routes, double moves, etc simply weren't on the radar. Golden Tate had similar limitations in college, and it took him 2 years before he fully adjusted to the complexity of the NFL game. This is going to make Williams a lot less appealing to any team looking for an immediate impact on the WR corps, for obvious reasons.
In a lot of ways, Terrance Williams reminds me of former Seahawk Darrel Jackson. Both guys have the combination of size and speed that make them big play threats, and dictate what sort of coverages the defense can run. But they also both have issues with catching the ball, and those deep rainbows to a guy who blew the lid off the secondary are a lot less pretty when they land on the ground.
Overall, I'd be quite happy to see the seahawks draft this guy. He's a bit of a project, but the raw talent is undeniably there and his upside is tremendous. If you look at the Pete Carrol Buzzwords list TM you'll see that Williams fits a lot of them, "touchdownmaker" "Very Unique Skill Set" and "Tilts the Field" being a few of them. I don't think it's very likely the Seahawks draft Williams because I don't think we're targeting a WR in the first round at all, but it's certainly possible.