Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon WR | NFL Draft 2015 Scouting Report
*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro-Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.
*WR-B stands for “Big-WR,” a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy red-zone threat type WRs. Our WR-S/”small-WRs” are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession type WRs who are less typically physical, and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep…they are not as big a weapon for the red-zone.
Sometimes, we just ‘miss out’ on a WR prospect from a small school in the pre-draft period. Tons of prospect data gets loaded into our system each draft season, and our computer scouting models will process it all and give me a ‘head’s up’ on which prospects we should be taking a deeper look at (and which ones not to waste time with).
Statistical models are not perfect. Numbers lie. Actually, it’s humans that over rely on simplistic formulas that are the scouting corruption—among the analytics crowd. I like my flawed scouting formulas more than anyone’s ultra-flawed scouting eyes, but numerical data can only do so much. It has its limits. Tyrell Williams is a perfect example of why the statistical data alone can fail you.
Let me give you the short version of the problem, from my vantage point: Tyrell Williams was held back, statistically, by his offense. Now, that would be very easy to say if his team/QB/offense was obviously terrible statistically…but they weren’t. Western Oregon was a solid team, and had a capable senior QB who produced solid passer numbers. Williams posted a career high 56 receptions for 950 yards and 8 TDs in 2014. Those are nice numbers in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level, but it’s not ‘dominating’…for NFL scouting/analytics/historical comparison purposes. It’s not eye-catching. It’s ho-hum, undrafted free agent type stuff as it pertains to NFL Draft scouting.
There is more to this story when you watch the tape, and comb over the Western Oregon season…
1) Williams played with a torn labrum in 2015, but worked through it and then had surgery after the season. He only really played in 10 games in 2014, averaging a pretty stout 5.6 catches for 95.0 yards and 0.80 TDs per game. If you extrapolated that into a 13-game season, his number totals paced for a 73 catch, 1,235 yards, 10 TD campaign…which looks a little more impressive, but still not ‘totally awesome’ at this lower level. I want these performance numbers to be ‘awesome’ in order to consider him as a higher ranked NFL Draft prospect.
2) Here’s the rub…Here’s where you win or lose as a scout. You either believe me or you don’t on the following: Whatever output numbers you see above…just double them to get an idea of ‘what was possible’.
‘Double’ was the upside potential here in 2014. I don’t know the Western Oregon Head Coach or QB, but I would fire them both for not getting the ball to Williams every play. The numbers Williams posted in 2014, his senior campaign, are only limited by his surroundings. He was the best player on the field every time he stepped onto it.
I don’t mean he was ‘really good’/‘best player on the field’, but I mean like your jaw dropped how much better an athlete he was then his opponents. Rare is it that you see an athlete that is just so much better than everyone else it is ridiculous. When you watch tape of Tyrell Williams (I’ll put a YouTube highlight reel at the bottom of this report), and you focus on his movements compared to his coverage or those trying to catch him in the open-field…you’ll see that Williams isn’t just beating defenders to a space or ‘got by’ someone for a long TD. You will see him catching passes, and then effortlessly leaving the pursuers in the dust…time after time after time. It’s a rare thing to see, but you have it here with Williams.
I remember scouting WR Tre McBride at William & Mary earlier this season, another small-school 4.4+ runner (was projected as a 3rd-round pick at one point, but went 7th-round). I never saw McBride outrun anyone on tape. He was always covered, and always appeared to be loafing around. The tape did not come close to his NFL Combine measurables. Tyrell Williams is the complete opposite.
What the Western Oregon QB did on most passing plays in 2014, is what you expect for most college QBs: He drops back with the play already set in his mind, and throws to the first/predetermined option. Williams was probably open on every play, if the QB had even taken a second to look. If I were that QB, I would have lined-up Williams on one side, dropped back to pass looking the other way, and then turned and fired to Williams—on almost every play. I don’t think double coverage would have mattered at that level—it wouldn’t have contained him.
Western Oregon seemed in love with its ‘balanced’ offense…as they had their ‘nice’, safe 6-5 season. Williams should have been a one-man band with double the statistics. He wasn’t. He wasn’t even the team’s leading receiver. A shorter, nobody of a WR named Paul Revis led the team in all receiving categories—because he was typically closer to the QB for the simplistic throws. Williams was usually spread out wide and running medium-deep, and that longer throw would have required the nervous QB to hold into the pocket longer. Life is better, as a scared, one-read QB, if you chuck the ball quickly in front of you…especially on safe bubble screens. Williams was almost always sent medium-deep.
In other words, if Tyrell Williams played on USC last season (without his labrum injury issue), he might have gone on to be a top-20 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Instead, he played for a team that didn’t exploit him…going semi-undetected at Western Oregon, and went undrafted with ‘analytics’ people turning up their nose at his so-so output metrics in the pre-draft studies. I know, I did.
Williams has NFL height (6’3”+) with underwhelming NFL weight/bulk (204-pounds). Williams has always fought to add weight (came to college at 150-pounds). A year with NFL (vs. Western Oregon) trainers, and he could be a physical beast. Looking at his tape, Williams is fairly muscular not skinny as it is, but he has room to add to his frame.
What Williams has over most WR prospects from 2015…supreme speed and agility. Some reported his three-cone score at 6.7+, while others show 6.5+. The 6.7+, at his size, is excellent. The 6.5+ is Julio Jones—and that’s who Williams reminds me of at times. Yes, Julio Jones. Wipe your chin. You think I’m crazy with that comparison? Wait until you see who some analysts/people, and our computer models offer up as a prospect comp—in two sections from now…
Williams has larger hands (9.7”+), and catches the ball with ease from the tape I watched. I saw no issues with his hands, or anything about his play. As I watched his tape, I was only beside myself that Western Oregon didn’t throw to him on every play—he was one-on-one covered almost all the time, because they knew the QB wasn’t really looking over the field. The labrum issue may have been a reasonable excuse why the coaches limited his touches, but I think it was more the unimaginative offense in general.
Another positive about Williams—he runs great routes. He is so smooth/agile in and out of breaks, it’s subtly breathtaking. He also stops on a dime, so those routes where a WR sprints downfield, and then stops on a dime for a catch on a timing come back with the QB—Williams looks fantastic. He goes over the middle without fear, but it was also D2 action…we’ll see if he does that as smoothly in the NFL. He has NFL-quality movement for sure. He’s a ‘natural’.
I am totally jazzed by researching Williams further. I’m sad our surface information called him a basic ‘deep-sleeper’ prospect for us in the pre-draft—that was underselling him. I get why our computer models couldn’t fully pick this up, but it was a missed opportunity. He was a legit top WR prospect in the draft, but most/all of us in the ‘analytics-world’ missed it. Any NFL team personnel reading this—if the Chargers try to sneak Williams onto the practice squad pre-season start…jump on it, and then examine his shoulder. Don’t hesitate on what might be a massive opportunity (for the cost).
Tyrell Williams, through the lens of our “Big WR” Scouting Algorithm
It’s difficult/impossible to judge Williams’ quality of output from the box scores and strength of opponent given the level he played at. His final game of 2014, was a limited playing time effort against something called “Hardrockers”…I’m not making that up.
“Hardrockers” game aside, in his other nine games vs. ‘legit’ D2 teams: He had at least one TD in six of 9 games. Five 100+ yard games, and two 150+ yard games. Five or more catches in all but one game. All ‘good’ data points for a serious NFL prospect working at the lower levels, but I want ‘great’. Again, I think you could theoretically double his output numbers and still be underselling the possibilities.
If you ignore his limited/nothing game vs. “Hardrockers,” in his ‘real’ nine games played, Williams averaged: 6.1 receptions for 104.2 yards and 0.89 TDs per game…79 catches for 1,350+ yards and 11.5+ TDs in a 13-game season at his nine game pace. That’s more like what you want to see from a guy at this level. Again, I make the argument you could take his 2014 output numbers and double it if you wanted to. Williams was held back by his QB/offense, I am convinced of it (a little like Chris Conley was at Georgia).
Pro Day numbers:
4.43 = 40-time…would have been one of the better runners for his size at the NFL Combine. I know Pro Day numbers are sketchy, but the tape says he really is 4.43. Some reported he had attempts in the 4.3s at that Pro Day.
1.51 = 10-yard split…is awesome for his size.
39.5” = vertical…and that’s well above-average.
6.53 or 6.73 three cone with 4.17 in the shuttle…all great numbers.
Williams is at least ‘B+’ athlete for the NFL on paper, and his tape backed it up to me…perhaps, even showing an ‘A-‘ athlete for the NFL.
The NFL “Big WR” that Tyrell Williams most compares with statistically in college, within our system:
In doing my research, I heard/read in a few places where people called Williams a ‘Randy Moss’ type prospect. Now, that may strike you as silly at first. One thing to consider why I think people say that—Moss was a taller, thinner, unbelievably agile (unbelievable at everything) WR prospect coming out of Marshall…emphasis on thin (Moss was 205-pounds heading to the NFL). Williams and Moss have some similar body, athleticism characteristics.
Actually, I like the computer’s suggestion: Alshon Jeffery. A fluid big man who can play a power game or a more finesse underneath game as needed.
You’ll see Williams get a few ‘Jeff Janis’ comps in smart Dynasty circles—both small school guys with great athleticism numbers…like ‘too good to be true’ type of measurements. All I can tell you is—I saw Jeff Janis on tape, and up close at the Senior Bowl, etc., and not once did I get excited…I was more wondering if Janis was a ‘ruse’ after contemplating all the data. Williams is the complete opposite, in my opinion—I’m more ticked he didn’t get my full attention in April 2015. I’m thinking the Williams data is not only correct, but could be underselling.
All the ‘could be’ and ‘double the stats’ theories makes it difficult for our system to deal with ‘just the facts’, because I think ‘theoretical’ things enter the picture here—and that corrupts a pure data-driven system with human interjection. So take this scouting grade as you wish, because we artificially pumped it considering his labrum restrictions, and we are taking the best-case Pro Day numbers reported…not the worst-case ones. If you believe he could have doubled his on-field output—his rating should rise to an 8.5 to 9.0…if you think too much humanism is blending in here, then he’s more of an intriguing 7.0 type prospect for us.
|WR Score||Draft Yr||Last||First||College||H||H||W||Power Strngth Metric||Speed Agility Metric||"Hands" Metric|
|4.14||2012||Moss||Dale||So Dakota St||6||3.3||220||7.38||11.36||8.18|
Tyrell Williams Overall Metrics Scouting Score = 8.00 (“B-” grade level prospect)
*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Big-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of Big-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system, and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Big-WR.
All of the WR ratings are based on a 0-10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.
Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced. Mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, rated historically in our database.
“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical-size profiling, bench press strength, etc. High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.
“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC, and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/create separation.
“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand-size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance, and overall projects the combination of performance and physical data for the next-level.
2015 NFL Draft outlook…
Well, Williams went undrafted in 2015, and I’m not sure how much his shoulder played into that. Take the labrum issue away, and Williams should have been a top-100 drafted WR prospect…maybe even with the issue.
If I were an NFL GM, I would have drafted Williams late, just to avoid a UDFA recruiting war with other teams. When you look at Williams going undrafted, and then look at most every guy who was taken in the 7th-round in the NFL Draft, you could lose your faith in humanity (in my pro-Williams eyes).
NFL Outlook: Williams joins a great NFL situation with the Chargers. They are a team desperate for a ‘big’ WR presence. Malcom Floyd has been average at best his whole career. Danario Alexander was the real deal, but was/is jinxed with ACL problems. Williams can use a year of working on his body and experience—and come out in 2016 as a legit threat to be the Chargers starter. Williams may be so good, so natural that he forces his way into playing time right away in 2015.
I believe there is a realistic possibility that you could see Williams as a #1 WR in the NFL someday. Given his labrum, his hard-to-interpret D2 stats, etc., that’s a bold statement, but from all I have seen over the years, I think there is enough here to at least have ‘hope’ (knowing the risk)—I’m willing to say Williams becoming a #1 WR is on the table here. You can’t say that about many WR prospects from 2015.
****YOUTUBE VIDEO (below)****
You should burn valuable work time watching this video in its entirety, and really look at what Tyrell Williams is capable of. Sometimes you have to re-watch some of the plays to fully drink it in. If you don’t want to watch it all, please watch these two specific plays:
The very first play shown: Blink, and you’ll miss it. Williams goes deep, catches the ball in-stride with a defender’s hand grasping at Williams upon the catch. Both Williams and the DB are running full speed. A Safety is running over as well. Williams slows a touch and catches the pass with the primary DB within arm’s length and the Safety about five-yards away—watch how far back they are when Williams crosses the end-zone…also, consider Williams jogged it at the end because he was fine (not lazy).
The seventh play shown: This 7th play is the ‘money shot’. Williams catches a medium slant over-the-middle. He has to hesitate to haul it in, and if you stop the tape exactly on his catch, you’ll see four defenders are beyond him and closing in. You’ll notice two defenders trailing him. Williams hesitates for the catch, ands accelerates into the gang of four in the middle of the field. He stop-starts to juke one DB out his socks, which allows the two guys from behind him to close in full speed and the other members of the gang of four are also trying to pounce. Watch where they all wind up in relation to Williams at the end of the play. AND does Williams even look like he’s breaking a sweat?
— R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics.com, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics.com. He is also a lead writer for ‘Play The Draft.com’. His group also provides player projections for Advanced Sports Logic’s football software “The Machine.”