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ALLEN PARK, Mich. – When Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes and the front office identified their best prospects ahead of last weekend’s NFL draft, they began measuring the possibility of acting up to another top pick on Day 1.
But not just for anyone, it should be for a “game-changer,” Holmes said.
With the overall No. 2 pick Thursday, Lions Michigan defender Aidan Hutchinson drafted. Then Holmes became aggressive and swapped 20 spots, from No. 32, to take Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams with the 12th pick.
“This guy is ugly. He’s a dog. He loves football. He just fit in with what we’re all about,” said Holmes, who was selected by the Minnesota Vikings. I started saying, ‘OK, okay, maybe because he’s one of those guys we’d judged in the same way, very evenly at the top, so let’s pick him up.’
Williams said he saw the draft from the green room when he found out the lions were shopping to get him.
“A Detroit number called me, but it hung up, then it called back to me,” Williams said of the draft call.
Throughout the draft process, Holmes said there was a talented group of receivers he had become fond of, but Williams stood out even though he is recovering from a torn left ACL he suffered in January.
At his inaugural news conference, Williams said he expects to be completely healthy in time for training camp.
When it’s 100%, Detroit sees Williams as an outside deep threat that will open up opportunities for the Lions’ other skill players with its ability to stretch the field. Six wideouts were taken within the first 20 picks and three had gone off the board before the Lions moved up to pick up Williams.
“When we saw how it developed and we saw that there was a chance to possibly acquire Jameson, we were pretty willing to go up and get him,” Holmes said. “And again, it did not go up to get a wide receiver, it did go up to get him. It does not say anything about quarterbacks or anything like that, it was just the fact that Jameson was available. We had a good time. to go up to pick him up. ”
The move came as a surprise to many fans and draft experts, but the Lions are trying to place a group of explosive offensive weapons around quarterback Jared Goff in 2022. After a 3-13-1 finish, Detroit needed the most help from the receiver after the shooting only two passes of more than 50 yards last season, which was a draw for the league’s third-fastest, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Lions re-signed Josh Reynolds and added DJ Chark Jr. in the offseason to complement Pro Bowl tight-end TJ Hockenson and breakout rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. So they have the opportunity to bring Williams slowly along while he recovers from the knee injury.
“We have to do our part to make sure he is ready for success. We have to develop him,” Holmes said. “He needs to get well. But we believe we have the right resources and structure in place.”
The value of the wide receiver position in today’s NFL was shown over the weekend, and Williams was without a doubt the most talented of the pack before incurring his injury. His 1,572 receiving yards in 2021 were fifth in FBS as well as the third most in a season in Alabama history.
He believes he can have a similar impact in Detroit.
“I think that translates, and yes, I think I can be a big threat in the NFL,” Williams said. “Ultimately, it’s football, and it’s about how you really play it.”