The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
It's the start of the third season in the Ron Rivera era, and the Washington Commanders have a pristine opportunity to strengthen their roster.
In his first season as Washington's head coach, Rivera took Chase Young, who became the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year, with the No. 2 overall pick. The next season, he drafted Jamin Davis with the No. 19 overall pick, and the former Kentucky Wildcat showed promise in his first season.
Now, the Commanders have the No. 11 overall pick, and analysts are predicting them to go with a plethora of positions, from linebacker to safety and quarterback, at that spot.
In anticipation for that selection, Commanders.com will highlight one mock draft from a draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. Here are the players covered in previous weeks:
Next up, here's who draft expert Evan Silva has the Commanders taking in the first round.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
In a wide receiver class that has seen several prospects improve their stock, Jameson Williams has taken a bit of a back burner for some analysts.
From a certain standpoint, the lack of attention is understandable. Williams, the Crimson Tide's top receiving threat all season, tore his ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship game against Georgia. Such injuries are not the career detriments they were in previous years, but it does all but guarantee Williams will at least miss a chunk of his rookie season.
At the same time, there's no denying Williams' physical traits, and that's what Silva had in mind when he tabbed the Commanders to scoop up Williams with the 11th overall pick.
"This draft's most dynamic receiver, Williams scored 15 TDs on 79 receptions and hit pay dirt twice as a kickoff returner in his final college season, only to tear his ACL in Alabama's national championship loss," Silva wrote. "Yet all signs point to Williams making a smooth recovery."
Standing out from other athletes has never been a problem for Williams, who was a four-star prospect from Cardinal Ritter College Prep in St. Louis. He helped the school claim a Class 3 state championship with 68 passes for 1,626 yards and 22 touchdowns, but that's only part of what made him so impressive. He also broke the Missouri state record in 300-meter hurdles, which was previously held by Ezekiel Elliott.
Williams went on to sign a scholarship with Ohio State, and while he did have some success, he rarely saw the field with 15 receptions in two seasons. So, he transferred to Alabama for the 2021 season, and it didn't take long for him to catch on.
The change of scenery allowed Williams' skill set, highlighted by his large catch radius and ability to get yards after the catch, to shine in the SEC. He led all FBS players with 11 touchdowns of at least 30 yards in 2021. He only had three drops on 120 targets for a drop rate of just 2.5%.
"He turned into the best deep threat in the country," ESPN's Mel Kiper wrote of Jameson. "He has blazing speed."
Need an example of just how fast "blazing" is? Check out his tape against Miami in Week 1, when he hit 22.3 mph during his 94-yard touchdown run.
"He has all the juice to find consistent separation on vertical, over and post/corner routes and could see monstrous production if paired with a high-end talent at quarterback," wrote NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young certainly loved having Williams as a target. The wideout used that speed to "routinely blow past cornerbacks," according to CBS Sports’ Dave Richards, who also points out that 11 of Williams' 15 touchdowns came on passes traveling 15-plus air yards.
"Yeah (Williams) is someone who works super hard," Young said of Williams in December. "Someone during the week who gives really good effort. It's really good."
Not only did Williams know how to get past defensive backs, but he also had the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. He led the SEC with 722 yards after the catch (that's 46% of his 1,572 receiving yards in 2021). That was highlighted by 107 yards after the catch against Georgia in the SEC Championship, which also saw Williams make seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
And Williams wasn't the only one to benefit from his speed, either. Richards also pointed out that his teammates were open on shorter routes because of his ability as a deep threat. If he were added to the Commanders' receiving corps, it's easy to see players like Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel taking advantage of that extra space.
"Williams is a game-breaking, ball-in-space receiver who can be especially effective when schemed up," Richards said.
Still, Williams' ACL remains a question, although Williams said he's ahead of schedule and hopes to be ready for training camp. Either way, any team taking Williams will have to deal with the possibility of having him unavailable, at least not at full strength, to start the year.
Williams' traits, however, make it a worthy investment.