The 2015 college football bowl season is underway. On Saturday, December 26, we will see the Hyundai Sun Bowl, which features Miami of Florida (8-4) and Washington State (8-4). In Head Coach Mike Leach’s wide-open pass-heavy offense, one of the players to keep an eye on is redshirt senior wide receiver Dom Williams.
Williams has gotten no draft buzz whatsoever despite the fact that he must leave college after this season. He isn’t present at all in the 2016 RotoViz Scouting Index, but that doesn’t concern me. Let’s say that this is just one of those moments when RotoViz is ahead of the curve in talking about players who probably don’t need to be talked about.
Williams isn’t even the most productive wide receiver on his team — that is redshirt junior Gabe Marks — but, of the two, Williams might be the better NFL draft prospect (for a simple reason that I will explore later). On the season, Williams is 11th in touchdowns and 29th in yards receiving for all receivers in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Those numbers might not seem great, but by the time the season is over Williams will likely be one of only a handful of draft-eligible Power Five wide receivers with at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving. As such, Williams will be a rare even if undervalued commodity in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Here are the numbers for Williams’ four collegiate seasons:
Note that Williams has improved in each of his four seasons in Head Coach Mike Leach’s offense. Although Williams’ statistical improvement has been gradual until this season, it’s hard to undermine the production of a Pac-12 receiver who has scored 20 touchdowns in 23 games over the last two years.
Although Williams isn’t the No. 1 receiver on his team, he has production that rivals that of most No. 1 receivers and is productive enough overall to make him a viable potential NFL contributor.
The Physical Profile
The reason Williams may be superior to Marks as an NFL draft prospect is his size. Whereas Marks is listed at six feet zero inches and 190 pounds, Williams is six feet two inches and 200 pounds, and he might even be heavier than that by the time he participates in the NFL combine.
At that size, Williams will have the ability to play a variety of receiver positions in the NFL. Even if he is slow and thus unsuited to be an ideal split end, Williams could still be a steady contributor as a slot receiver or a flanker.
At his best, Williams is unlikely to run his 40-yard dash in a time faster than 4.50 seconds, but even if he is only in the 4.55-4.65 second range, he could still be a decent NFL wide receiver. In fact, with that type of athleticism, Williams would basically be a late-round version of Michael Crabtree, who played under Leach at Texas Tech.
The point is that, with his size and production, even if Williams doesn’t do well in his pre-draft workouts, he still has a chance of being a decent NFL player.
The best that Williams could probably do in the NFL (based on his size, athleticism, production, and likely draft position) is have a career comparable to Jerricho Cotchery’s. And that’s actually not awful.
Of course, the odds are probably better that Williams simply becomes the smaller non-basketball-playing undrafted 2016 version of Vince Mayle.
Matthew Freedman is a football writer for RotoViz, Pro Football Focus Fantasy, Fantasy Insiders, and DraftKings Playbook. He is (not) the inspiration for the character in The League who shares his name. He hosts the various RotoViz podcasts and PFF Radio’s College Daily Slant. He is the creator of the Workhorse Metric. You can follow him on Twitter @MattFtheOracle — but I don’t know why you would.