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NAME: Preston Williams

SCHOOL: Colorado State

CONFERENCE: Mountain West

POSITION: Wide Receiver

CLASS: RS Junior

JERSEY: No. 11

RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star (Transfer from Tennessee)

HT: 6-4

WT: 209 lbs

D.O.B.: 3/27/1997

Separation Quickness – Possesses the necessary athleticism to be able to separate from defensive backs. Obvious speed and stride length when given a free release at the line of scrimmage. Length in his legs can limit the efficiency of his breaks in some areas, but generally doesn’t waste motion in and out of his cuts. Solid breakdowns while running curls and comebacks in order to create a window from his quarterback.

Ball Skills – Williams relies too much on his body in order to make receptions. Will attack balls at chest-level with passive hand placement and allow for extra time that the ball is in the air. Hand placement at the catch point is inconsistent. Flashes of natural hands when using active placement, and effortlessly transitions into a ball carrier when he does so. Consistency in that area could lead to more extended plays after the catch.

Speed/Burst – Upright stance limits his burst on the snap. Wastes time at the line of scrimmage loading his legs into a position where he can run. Easy strider who eats grass well, long speed is obvious and likely a result of his track and field background. Explosive when given time to release and build up his speed.

Route-Running – Generally raw as a route runner, which is to be expected with his lack of experience playing at the collegiate level. Rarely threatens the leverage of the defensive back in his stems, struggling to get their hips turned or their weight back on their heels. Occasionally wasting time at the top of his route attempting to find the perfect window for a throw. There are flashes of refinement in how he uses his hands and physicality to separate at the top of his route and his ability to work through windows on crossing routes.

Contested Catch – This is an area where Williams should be more dominant than he is, given his physical profile. Generally prefers to catch over the shoulder, which limits his high point potential and can get the catch point played by defensive backs. Ball security after the catch is lacking, and the ball can get knocked from his hands as a result. Occasional mistakes in how he tracks and attacks the football in the air. When everything is put together, Williams has instances of outstanding ability in contested spots, but this is a rarity.

Ball Carrier – Solid ball carrier who benefits from initial space so he can build up his speed. Glides by blockers in space and uses his length to pick up yards along the boundary. Can bring some pop as a ball carrier. Terrible ball security as a runner with space in-between his frame and the football and holding the ball in the improper hand. Will occasionally try to make too much happen and take questionable paths as a result.

Releases – An area where Williams struggles. Lack of lateral quickness limits his releases while operating against press coverage, and he rarely is able to stack vertically as a result. Though he has decent hand usage, he seems uncomfortable and inexperienced against press coverage. Undoubtedly has the physical profile to improve in this area and actually become dominant given his length, but not a strength just yet.

Blocking – A few times a game Williams will show positive effort working far downfield in order to keep his teammates upright, but far too often his get off when asked to stalk block is lacking. Base is far too narrow, and he rarely climbs into a defensive back and drives them off the spot with his hands inside. Looks to use the “super shoulder” and is a one hit blocker, rather than engaging and running his feet. Effort comes and goes.

Strength and Toughness – Not overarching strength, but seemingly a solid competitor with passable toughness. Won’t ever impose his will on defensive backs and dominate them physically, but rarely are there instances of Williams getting outplayed because of effort or strength.

Athleticism/Size – One of the more tantalizing prospects in the class with elite track and field level athleticism inside of a long, explosive frame. Size and speed isn’t a question with Williams, and his athleticism led to offers from Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Georgia out of high school.

BEST TRAIT – Athleticism

WORST TRAIT – Tracking/Hands

RED FLAGS – Torn ACL while at Tennessee. Served a suspension for an off-season misdemeanor assault charge. Transferred from Tennessee to Colorado State, sitting out the 2017 season.

-Brad Kelly

Route Running –Isn’t quite sure how to get out of press coverage just yet, routes are derailed by contact despite desirable physical tools. Can be sloppy with his feet at the top of stems and when trying to create voids vs. zone coverage. Great snap and size/speed blend on vertical stems.

Hands –Inconsistencies can be frustrating. For every spectacular catch there is another trapped against his chest or a concentration drop when looking for pending contact. Has terrific catch radius, but not consistent in efforts when tested.

Contested Catch Ability –Would love to see more consistency in aggression when addressing the football. Often times gets boxed out in effort to win positioning on 50-50 balls. Has flashes of brilliance and ability to elevate through contact but doesn’t often catch cleanly in such instances.

Run After Catch Ability Good blend of size, strength and wiggle after the catch, was frequently utilized as a short area/screen target and then asked to generate yardage on his own. Shows good vision, although he’s a bit more ambitious than he probably should be attempted to cut out of tackles.

Football IQ –Technical work in progress who is overcoming a lack of playing time during several years at Tennessee before sitting out 2017 as a transfer. Ceiling is pretty high, but route running, releases and footwork are all lacking for status as a highly coveted prospect.

Vertical Receiving –Vertical speed with size pairs well, as does his tracking ability when reading throws over his shoulder and pressing with speed down the field. Has secondary burst to separate from defenders playing in phase and allow his QB to drop balls in the bucket.

Change of Direction Skills –Natural quickness is strong, particularly on shallow breaks and when not working off of contact. Slippery lateral step and shows enough fluidity laterally to sidestep a jam at the LOS. Does well on speed cuts to bang his head inside and snap sharply.

Speed –Long speed is very good thanks to long strides that open up in the open field and take up a lot of turf. Play speed on routes is dictated by bodies in his path, ineffective in tempering stems or adjusting releases to allow faster pace of play through routes.

Competitive Toughness –Consistent effort level is missing. Will fire hard out of the blocks and challenge a defensive back on one run rep, then walk on the backside of a screen/swing the other direction. Physically imposing but motor simply doesn’t match the body at this point.

Blocking Ability –Has all of the physical tools needed to beat up defenders on the boundary. When able to get his hands latched on a body will push DBs around. That said, effort to sell vertical release and subsequent slide to mirror in the run game is poor.

BEST TRAIT – Athleticism

WORST TRAIT – Route Running

BEST FILM – Hawaii (2018)

WORST FILM – Florida (2018)

RED FLAGS – Torn ACL while at Tennessee. Served a suspension for an off-season misdemeanor assault charge. Transferred from Tennessee to Colorado State, sitting out the 2017 season.

Preston Williams is a high ceiling, low floor prospect who must be given time to develop at the NFL level. Williams has great size/speed/athleticism, but he’s a technically underdeveloped receiver who put up big numbers at Colorado State courtesy of his status as a volume receiver. Williams is too often neutralized by press coverage and knocked off course by physical corners, he’s in need of notable coaching if he is going to reach his lofty ceiling as a potential starter.

Separation Quickness – Really impressive ability to lull off-coverage or zone defenders to sleep before breaking off his route suddenly. Hip snap works back to the ball quickly. Ability to vary pace is a strong point. Smooth, fluid move. Needs more nuance, but athletic tools are there to separate.

Ball Skills – Highly inconsistent aspect of his game. Flashes of brilliance both above the rim and going low to dig balls out. Outstanding body control and a big catch radius, but concentration is a big issue. Far too many drops on tape, has to secure the ball quicker after the initial grab too. Has had issues tracking the football over his head. Will sometimes jump to secure the ball with his body, rather than high-point it away from his frame.

Speed/Burst – Not super explosive off the snap, but has the long speed to test cornerbacks vertically regardless. Considering his size, his speed is impressive despite the fact I don’t think he’ll test like a burner (4.4s). Eats up yardage and detaches from man coverage late. Doesn’t feel like he plays every rep at top speed when you see his fastest plays.

Route-Running – Like most of his game, consistency is hard to come by. Shows good athletic traits as a route runner, and at times makes sudden cuts, although his landmarks are inconsistent. Should attack cornerbacks more aggressively with his burst into his patterns, but doesn’t really force early opens against off coverage. Can fall off his patterns a bit on out-cuts. Contact down the field really bothers him, knocked off top of his routes too easily.

Contested Catch – Similar to his ball skills, highly inconsistent in this area. Had a couple awesome high-point contested grabs on tape, but struggled mightily to play through contact at the catch point in other situations. When defensive backs play the pocket, he can struggle to secure the ball cleanly. Has the elevation ability and body control to be better in this area.

YAC – Decision-making and vision are question marks. Has good athletic tools and the speed to take a short pass to the house if the path is there, but won’t break a lot of tackles or show much creativity in space. First contact got him down consistently. Despite athleticism, not elusive in space or in 1v1 situations with the ball in his hands. Four fumbles on 112 career catches is not ideal.

Releases – Shows quick feet and the ability to switch up his releases (outside/inside), but can be slow off the ball due to upright stance pre-snap. Needs to look more engaged and immediately threaten defensive backs off the ball. When cornerbacks land their hands, he can struggle to disengage quickly. Has the length and strength to defeat press with more pro-ready technique, but will need to be a lot more aggressive off the ball.

Blocking – Inconsistent desire to block is the biggest issue. Traits are there, flashes are there, technique is inconsistent. Doesn’t come into blocks under control and relies on length and strength to push defensive backs out of the way. Shows good effort down the field to help get a piece of a final defender when a teammate has the ball.

Competitive Toughness – Generally gives a good effort on the majority of plays, but definitely does not seem fond of contact and attention to detail wavers too often. Would not describe him as a physical receiver, but there are flashes of aggression that show what could be.

Athleticism/Size – Excellent size, length and athletic tools. Really fluid mover with enough suddenness to be considered explosive as well. Won’t be invited to the Combine due to an assault charge in his past, so his Pro Day results will be enormous for his draft stock.

BEST TRAIT – Length/Speed

WORST TRAIT – Inconsistent Ball Skills/Contested Catch

RED FLAGS – Torn ACL while at Tennessee. Served a suspension for an off-season misdemeanor assault charge. Transferred from Tennessee to Colorado State, sitting out the 2017 season.

Off-field concerns could make Preston Williams go undrafted or at least last into day three, despite the fact that he has ample natural talent. I don’t buy into the “first round talent” hype that other quality analysts have ascribed to Williams, as he has too many inconsistencies in his ball skills and route running to trust him with that early of a selection.

However, the flashes with Williams are tantalizing, and his production during his lone complete college season is extremely impressive. Coaches will pitch that they can develop the nuances of his game in order to get their hands on his size, speed and leaping ability, but Williams’ impact might be minimal in year one. By year three, he should be a top three contributor on an NFL receiving corps, with the ability to play inside and outside per the situation.