WR/CB Williams selected with Titans’ third pick

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Finally, the Titans address a legitimate need in the draft. Or maybe two needs. Or maybe none.
Fresno State’s Paul Williams is listed as a receiver/cornerback. Sounds to me like an athlete without a natural position, who hasn’t found a home. A jack of several trades and master of none.
Mike Reinfeldt’s last two picks are very reminiscent of picks Floyd Reese used to make — guys with high measurables, good size and speed, but unable to translate it into performance on the field. Guys who are labeled by scouts and analysts as reaches.
Andre Woolfolk was a primary example of that, with many similarities to Williams. In college, both were considered to be big corners with long arms. Like Williams, Woolfolk was also a receiver in college.
Receiver Tyrone Calico was another project of Reese’s, a second-round reach with size and speed whose lack of production resulted in his unemployment. He also reminds me of Williams. Woolfolk and Calico were the first two names that came to mind as I did some quick research on Williams.
I’m afraid I may now know the answer to the question, “What do you get when you cross Andre Woolfolk and Tyrone Calico?”

  • Here’s the underwhelming summary of the NFL’s scouting report on Williams:

    Compares To: Ken Lucas, Carolina — Williams just does not impress as a receiver, as you can plainly see he is not happy on offense Ö With his previous experience and family bloodlines on defense, he would be better served playing cornerback, but needs to sit down and do a gut-check to see if he has the heart to play the game.

I hope Williams proves me wrong for doubting the Titans’ selection of him, just as I hope Michael Griffin and Chris Henry will prove me wrong too.
Reinfeldt’s first draft is beginning to remind me of Reese’s 2003 draft, which had Woolfolk and Calico drafted with the first two picks. It was not one of Reese’s finer moments.

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6 Responses to “WR/CB Williams selected with Titans’ third pick”

  1. Junebug Says:

    Why not Newton of South Carolina? He had more production, did more for his team, has more strength, as much speed and can be a dual threat because of his option pass ability…not to mention he would probably be a better tackler for special teams…In 2 years Newton is playing as a 2nd reciever and our guy is …

  2. Jas Says:

    I’m not sure where all this garbage about him playing cornerback came from, but rest assured that he’s content playing on the offense. The following is an excerpt from a recent interview:
    (on the possibility of playing the cornerback position)
    “I donít know where that came from, but Iíve been playing receiver for four years. I think if I tried to play corner now, it would probably be not a good situation.”
    You guys may doubt him based on his productivity, but in 2005, he racked up nearly 800 yards in a run-first offense that has three other wideouts currently on NFL rosters (Adam Jennings: Falcons, Joe Fernandez: Seahawks, Jermaine Jamison: Eagles). This was all against pretty decent competition–his best games were against Boise State (where he had a record-breaking 98-yard TD reception…search his name on youtube, and you’ll see it all over the place), against Oregon (matched against all pac-10 cb phinnisee, career picks leader at the time), USC, and SJSU.
    Going into his senior year, Williams was poised to break out, but a high ankle sprain, knee injuries suffered early in the season, and substandard performance at quarterback hurt his chances significantly.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for your input, guys.
    Jas, in regard to your inquiry, the part about him playing corner came directly from the scouting report on him from nfl.com, which I placed a link to in the article. Please click on that link to review it. At the top of his profile he’s listed as a wide receiver/cornerback and if you read the entire scouting report, you’ll see why some scouts don’t have a higher opinion of him.
    I am encouraged by the good words you have to say about him and hope he will turn into a productive receiver for the Titans.

  4. Jas Says:

    Well, there has been speculation that he’d rather play cb given his bloodlines (a brother taken by the Bills in the first round, a db coach at UW). Indeed, in HS, Williams was a pretty good safety for Avenal high, getting first-team All-area honors. If I can get the number of interceptions, I’ll be sure to let you know.
    I am fully aware of the rumors going around about him playing cb, but aside from special teams play (Fresno’s ST coach, John Baxter, often puts some starters on the unit), he hasn’t seen the field when Fresno didn’t have possession of the ball. I’m not questioning your sources (believe me, I’m familiar with the ethical guidelines that online publishers/journalists commit themselves to), but I do think that the league-wide speculation is a bit off-base, given Williams’ own statements about the issue (which I found in an interview conducted with a Titans’ website).
    I’m also aware of Scouts’ criticisms of Williams: that he takes plays off, that he tends to round corners off on his routes, and that he sometimes shirks his blocking responsibilities, but I can asure you that the first one for certain is a bit off: Williams first injured himself on a monster hit by JD Nelson of Oregon while stretching himself out, reaching for an overthrown ball by Tom Brandstater. Williams had a poor senior campaign due to the reasons outlined in my previous post, but so did Bernard Berrian, and, by all indications Williams has the potential to be something greater. He’s the only player that I’ve ever heard Fresno HC Pat Hill refer to as “freakish” in his athletic ability. For all Tennessee fans interested in Williams, I suggest watching this youtube video:

    . If you search “Paul Williams, Fresno,” you can also see the play that he got hurt on vs. Oregon.
    FWIW, (and to not sound like a complete homer…) Williams does need to work a bit on his routes, but I think he has all the tools/work ethic (it was a trial to lose a close brother and still play through it) to be an all-pro receiver down the line. His performances at both the E-W Shrine game (where he beat GT’s top receiver for an 80-yard TD), and at the senior bowl should also be watched for the truly hardcore fans (esp. practices, those are the most valuable part of the bowls)

  5. Jas Says:

    I’m aware of the league-wide speculation about his wishes to play defense, but I believe it’s off-base, despite his bloodlines on defense. Williams, aside from special teams play, has never had to tackle/defend anybody. Although he was an all-area selection out of HS as a safety, Pat Hill had him moved to receiver very early in his college career. I’m not questioning your sources, but Williams’ own statements (recorded during an interview with a Titans’ website) should lend my point a bit of credence.
    I’m also aware of scouts’ criticisms of Williams; you’d almost have to be oblivious to his existence not to be: the first allegation is that he lacks some work ethic. I think this is untrue. Through trying seasons both on (Fresno’s recent 4-8 season), and off (the death of an older brother due to a football injury) the field, Williams held firm to his committment and never really complained or gave up. I don’t think the allegations of him taking plays off are particularly accurate–he even injured himself (vs. Oregon, on the bad end of a JD Nelson hit) when he ran across the middle of the field, and extended (and therefore exposed himself) to catch an overthrown ball by Tom Brandstater. He also has an incredible drive when he’s got the ball in his hand..that picture that you have of him is a good example: Williams caught a short screen pass, had his helmet knocked off, and dragged two more guys until the refs blew the play dead. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy about the rule regarding ballhandlers’ helmets.
    A second criticism of Williams is that his route-running needs work. With this, I agree. Sometimes, he rounded off corners on his routes, but he could get away with it in college due to his speed/physicality. The pros are another case, and coaches will need to work on this particular aspect of his game.
    Lastly, some scouts say that he shirks his run-blocking abilities. To this, I really have no reply, as I’m not sure one way or the other (I could review some film, if you’d have me do so). However, Fresno’s coach, Pat Hill, would probably not let him get away with such a thing; Williams has even been lined up at fullback to isolate him against an OLB, and has done his share of blocking out of the backfield on calls at the line by Fresno QBs.
    Regardless of all my homerism, I’m not quite at the point where I’m incapable of recognizing the facts. Williams did have a poor senior. I attribute it to the reasons outlined in my first post. Historically, guys like Bernard Berrian (likely a 1st-round pick in 2001, chose to stay another year, and suffered injuries, dropping him into the third round) have also struggled their senior years at Fresno State. Well, the Bears’ gamble paid of reasonably well, and Williams, by all indications, is poised to have a good career if all goes correctly, with a few (or more) appearances to Hawaii in the offseason. It takes a lot of ability for Pat Hill to state that you have “freakish” talent, and Williams is the only player that I’ve ever heard him say this about.

  6. Andrew Says:

    Great comment, Jas. You have also reinforced my increasing optimism that he’ll work out just fine.

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