Thoughts on Baylor’s Terrance Williams

I’m not convinced by Terrance Williams. He led the NCAA for receiving yards this year (1832) – 152 more yards than Biletnikoff winner Marqise Lee prior to USC’s Bowl game. He almost doubled his output as a junior and scored twelve touchdowns in another successful year for the Bears.

Despite all of that, I’m not sold.

You can’t knock his straight line speed and he’ll probably get a little boost at the combine. However, he lacks elite size (6-2, 200-205lbs) and he flashes inconsistent effort.

The biggest issue I have though is his tendency to body catch and how it leads to mistakes. Against UCLA in the Holiday Bowl there was moment in a simple jump-ball situation where he didn’t even raise his arms above his head. He’s got to go up and high point the football, win the play and make a big gain. Instead he’s waiting for it to drop into his frame. At the next level, he’s not going to be able to just run into space, get open and be in a position to make big yardage in a spread scheme. He’s going to have to win 1v1 match-ups. He’s going to have to compete for the ball in the air.

Not only will he require improved technique in this area, he’s just got to want it more. Like I said, he can’t afford to just rely on speed at the next level. Tell me a current NFL receiver who does that. You’ve got to be smart, competitive and consistent. You don’t see a great deal of that on tape. A corner like Richard Sherman can work a guy like this, beat him for effort and measure to avoid giving up the deep route. It’ll be a cake walk for any chirpy corner playing man.

Teams that are looking for a pure deep threat will show some interest, but the entire package is only worthy of a late second/third round grade in my view. According to Scouts Inc he’s had some maturity issues and I’m not convinced mass-production in a prolific offense will be enough to bail him out.

I’ve added a video showing his performance against Iowa State above. Look at the play at 1:08 where he gets in behind the defensive back, seemingly completes the catch but then drops the ball at the last minute. It’s sloppy and frustrating. At 2:13 he has another unforgivable drop. Sift through his 2012 back catalogue and there are plenty of big plays to counter such a lack of concentration – but this mistakes also keep cropping up.

I’m just not convinced he has enough spectacular aspects to his game aside from speed. The Seahawks want unique, not just fast. Can he fit into a quick strike offense? Possibly. But not as a high first or second round pick in my opinion. There are more explosive receivers with just as much speed eligible for this draft. If the Seahawks do go receiver early, I think they’ll look elsewhere.


  1. stuart

    All the great numbers this kid puts up are nice and all but I would be dissapointed to spend more than a 4th rounder on him. Once he dropped the second ball I stopped watching. It might have been one of the first plays I saw him where he had a chance to make a great block twice on the same play and he totally “matadored it”. It was like since he was not in on the catch why should he bother to block…

  2. Michael

    Rob, I didn’t get a chance to watch the Rutgers game. How did Coleman and Greene look?

    • Rob Staton

      The entire game was a shambles. Both offenses were awful. Coleman did what he could, but the QB play was extremely poor. He had four catches for about 55 yards which led the Rutgers team. One sloppy drop, but also one big play on a short route with big YAC. Today showed exactly why he needs to turn pro. He can’t take the next step in that offense with that quarterback. Greene played well – scored a touchdown on a huge mistake by Logan Thomas dealing with a botched snap in the end zone (Thomas should’ve booted it for a saftey, instead tried to make a play, fumbled, easy score for Greene). He had a few nice pressures. I still prefer Arthur Brown and Alec Ogletree, but Greene is next on the list as possible WILL options for Seattle.

  3. Justin M

    Watching the Tech game, Rob what do you think about Darrin Moore. Could be intriguing prospect.

    • Lubbock Air Corps

      I would like to hear Rob’s thoughts as well, but here are mine. I rarely miss a Tech game (TTU ’03), so I have seen a lot of Moore over the last 3 years, I don’t think he played much if at all as a freshman. Overall he is a bigger body, he has gotten better each year as his stats would indicate, as senior grew into the role as the 1a/1b WR on the team, and his overall production was more consistent.. Prior to his senior year he battled injuries and consistency, would dominate inferior competition then struggle to be a difference maker in big games. My concerns at the next level would be: his speed (it would not surprise me if he ran in the high 4.6s), his lack of physicality even though he is a bigger guy (there were games were guys 5″ shorter were pushing him around like a broom), and finally a lot of balls seemed to hit him in the shoulder pads so I am not sure if that was route running, concentration, or Doege putting more mustard on the ball when he threw it to Moore. I think he is a 6-7th round prospect (unless he blows the doors off the 40 time I expect him to run) and does not add anything to the Seahawks offense they did not already have with Braylon or BMW earlier this year.

      • Rob Staton

        Fantastic to hear from a Tech fan on this. This blog is at its best when people come together to offer opinions and information. Thank you, Chris.

      • Justin M

        Thanks for the response. That makes sense then, I was wondering why I had never heard of him in any draft boards with his size.

  4. Misfit74

    Also not a big Terrance Williams fan. He’s good, but could be closer to Austin Pettis than Dwayne Bowe.

  5. pqlqi

    i’ve been thinking a bit about draft choices that PC and JS make. One thing we see is players who are physically unique in some way. Tall corners, fast LBs, big DL, speedy Leo, WRs that are tall/good open field runners/quick.

    But there are two other very important things that all of our top round draft picks can do. Second to having one or more unique physical gifts, they all have proven in college that they can perform their base function at a high level. Irvin could sack QBs, Wagner could tackle, Russel could throw, Tate could catch, Carpenter could block, ET could track the ball – this even extends to the later round draft picks – they all were successful at their primary function in college.

    The final thing I think about with their draftees, is they all had coaches who said they were coachable. They didn’t have to make spectacular plays in college, but they had to be assignment correct and understand their role in the gameplan. I can’t confirm this from watching tape, but I’m pretty confident that it’s gotta be pretty high on their list.

    The draft is rife with players with exceptional physical talent, but plenty of them bomb out. The draft is rife with players who perform their primary role exceptionally well. The differentiating factor in the NFL is whether or not a player can be disciplined enough to learn when and where they are supposed to be on the field so they can put their physical talent and skill to the best effect for a team scheme.

    I don’t see this FO drafting a WR who doesn’t have good hands, or a CB who can’t track the ball, or a pass rusher who can’t accumulate sacks.

    • MJ

      Good stuff. I think an easy way to sum up what you said is the the FO looks for guys who are unique skill set wise, and have a sincere passion for the game which lends to coach ability, effort, and intensity.

    • Darnell

      At least not early in the draft.

      They tried drafting the WR that can’t catch. Kris Durham is no longer with the team.

  6. JamesP

    I watched the Holiday Bowl and remember the play you describe Rob. It showed a total lack of fight to me – surely he’s got to get his head around, locate the ball and then try and fight for it. Sure, there was some pushing and shoving but I’d rather see a receiver make the catch and get called for offensive PI than just surrender like Williams did. He wasn’t what I was expecting. You see 6-3 and 205 lbs, you expect some physicality. It just wasn’t there.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s a big issue. He has great speed, he has that threat. But he has to contest the football in those situations.

      • GH

        yeap. If you don’t catch it it’s not much of a threat, at the end of the day.

  7. Ben Harbaugh

    There’s a lot more to Williams than you outline Rob. A prolific passing offense, speed, and a decent frame alone won’t get you to 97 catches, 1832 yards, and 12 TDs. I think his hands are better than you give him credit for. Williams frequently makes catches outside of his frame. Yes he body catches more than you like. Yes he has concentration lapses. But the essential hands catching skill is definitely there in my opinion.

    The greatest asset Williams possesses, which you seem to overlook, is his body control and how he adjusts to the ball in the air. In the Iowa State game above, the play at 4:11 is an excellent example of this. The pass arrives quickly and is both high and behind Williams. Yet he easily slows his pace and elevates to catch the ball over his head. Not many other college receivers make that catch. The plays at :01 and 3:40 are two more examples of his body control along the sideline and ability to catch outside his frame.

    He’s definitely a finesse receiver but that’s not to say he’s not tough. He seems capable of handling some contact and making catches in traffic. I don’t think his demeanor is a problem either. He’s very even keel. In many ways I think he resembles Sidney Rice in this respect.

    To me, route running represents his greatest weakness. He has tremendous fluidity and acceleration but leaves a lot to be desired outside of that – poor quickness, precision, wiggle, and follow through when not a primary target. He’ll always threaten vertically with his speed, frame, hands, and body control. But he’ll struggle to make a consistent impact until he can refine his route running.

    Williams will need a lot more seasoning than guys like Hopkins and Wheaton but given his substantial natural receiving ability, I think he warrants a similar grade as a late first or early second round pick. He’s an excellent option for the Hawks since he won’t be required to start right away and can still see plenty of looks as a deep threat while he polishes his technique.

    • Rob Staton

      With respect, Ben, I’m not overlooking anything with Williams. I’m trying to look at this from the Seahawks perspective – scheme, current receivers, what a player can do, what are the issues? I’m not convinced body control is something that the team will really crave. At the moment he looks like a receiver who relies too much on speed to get open, he’s not overly physical and he’s going to need to be. This team encourages jump ball situations. The receivers are asked in the quick strike attack to win 1v1 match-ups and I’ve not seen enough evidence of Williams doing this. In fact, it’s an issue. I linked to a report from a scouting group regarding his demeanour – it’s not something I’ve passed comment on personally. But that concern is out there now.

      You’ve highlighted that he’s more finesse, that is route running isn’t great at this stage. Given that he isn’t a hands catcher, doesn’t high-point the ball, he often loses concentration and there are question marks about his personality and motivation, it’s hard to grade him as early as you suggest. Particularly when there are much more rounded and superior players eligible for this draft who also play the position.

      • Ben Harbaugh

        Fair enough. After rereading my post I came across as a bit more contentious than I intended. My bad.

        Anyway, I absolutely hear what you’re saying and I’m not ignorant to the distinct possibility of him falling farther than the grade I give him. That grade is largely based on potential and ‘potential’ is obviously treacherous ground for grading. No matter where he’s drafted, the coaching staff will have to have some confidence in their ability to “coach him up.” Who knows how much the team craves body control but signing Sidney Rice to a big contract suggests they at least appreciate it. I think it’s worth noting though for the sake of “what he can do,” which we know to be a focus for our front office scouting philosophy.

        Williams might not attack the ball in the air the way you’d want, but given his decent size, positioning (generated by speed), and body control, I think he has what it takes to continue making plays down the field at the next level. I guess I don’t see the same issue with 1v1 match-ups that you do. Even for the Baylor offense, one can’t catch so many TDs and vertical routes without winning a fair number of 1v1 match-ups.

        Like I said, he’s a project. Yet a project who could threaten deep from the start. On the Seahawks he would have time to develop his technique, without too much responsibility, while still providing a missing component on offense. There are certainly more rounded receivers than Williams in this class but I think his potential is only eclipsed by Brandon Coleman (should he declare). I like Williams but have a hard time seeing us use a first round pick on him. As a second rounder though, as a guy who falls for similar reasons to Golden Tate, I think he’s a very appealing possibility.

        • AlaskaHawk

          Assuming we chose defense in the first round – by the time we chose in the second round we would be in the 5 to 8th receiver off the board. He might fit into that range.

        • pqlqi

          He also looks like a very willing blocker

        • Rob Staton

          No problem at all Ben – big views encouraged and you’ve raised some very valid points. It’s good to read a different take. This place should be about different opinions. Thank you.

  8. stuart

    Excellent points by pplq and mj, you nailed it. It makes perfect sense now…

  9. pqlqi

    watching his play vs Texas, I see a much better player than against ISU.

    Big catch radius, great awareness of the sideline (two feet inbounds quite a bit), a really tough out of the endzone catch where he shows some serious strength catching the ball through contact and a good rip by the DB, solid route running, interesting YAC ability in space (smooth open field near full sprint moves similar to, but not as dynamic as, DeMarco Murray and Arian Foster), and a player who outclasses the DB so much that he draws PI quite a bit, even if it’s not called.

    He definitely catches the ball away from his body quite a bit, and while he doesn’t “snatch” the ball violently out of the air, it’s exceedingly rare to see that in college, and in the pros you are only talking about 5 or 8 guys who really do that.

    I can’t imagine this guy lasting to our 2nd round pick. He sure looks all of a pick in the 20-40 range, and I could see him going a bit earlier. He’d be a ridiculous steal at 52+, where we will be picking. On another note, if we were to trade down, he’d be a great target in the mid 30s.

    The other thing that would make sense is that his rookie contract would be due for renegotiation the same year Rice’s contract expires.

    So I guess my question for you Rob is this: Assuming the Hawks are picking at 28, and Ertz and Willliams are on the board, which do you prefer? Rice’s replacement, or Miller’s?

    • pqlqi

      As a note, Rice was drafted 44th…

    • Rob Staton

      Well, I can only base this off my own opinion. And I don’t think Williams is a round one pick. I do, however, think Ertz warrants that kind of grade. So I have to go with the tight end.

  10. A. Simmons

    Glad you noted his attitude towards going up for the ball. The one thing about Golden Tate is he loved to go up and get the ball at Notre Dame. If we look for a receiver, we’ll definitely be looking for one that goes up after the ball like a hungry lion going after meat. A competitive nature that pushes a player to 100% all the time is a must for a Pete Carroll team. That means being aggressive when going after the ball.

  11. Jim Kelly

    I hate the basket catch. Nolan Cromwell (A college qb, that played defensove back in the pros, and was the Hawks wide receivers’ coach. Never understood that.) taught that catch to Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson. Look how THAT worked out. The Hawks need to stay away from any receiver that can’t catch with his hands, and run as quickly as possible from any that won’t catch with their hands.

  12. Rock

    I think Williams is a good WR but I am not convinced he is head and shoulders above the others in this class. We need to keep in mind he played in the Baylor offense which throws the ball a lot. He also had RG3 throwing to him the first three years and a good QB in Florence this year. The Baylor team has a lot of talent. I look at him a bit like a QB from USC. How much is due to the system?

    What we know they need is speed to take the top off the defense and PC likes size, as well. The only one with that kind of speed is Tavon Austin. He seems too small. I would put my money on the Hawks making a move for Mike Wallace from Pittsburgh, should he become available. They also have Kearse and 3 WR’s on the practice squad. I think they like Kearse, We will have to wait and see how these guys run at the combine but most seem to be in the 4.5 range when we are looking for 4.3 speed.

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