Jameson Williams, David Ojabo see stock slip
They were the two one-year wonders running parallel stretches to topple the NFL draft’s top-10 picks.
Then they both fell onto the lawn.
First, Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams was knocked down with a torn cruciate ligament in the January 10 college football playoff national championship game. Then Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo tore his Achilles tendon at his Pro Day on March 19th. Everything changed.
As interest in Williams surges again as he progresses from injury, Ojabo is in danger of slipping out of the first round. The difference is less in the nature of the injury and more in the calendar and what it means: Williams vows to be ready for Week 1, while Ojabo’s rookie season could be a wash unless he can take on Rams, who Cam running back Akers’ expectation-changing five-month recovery.
The three-way race for Williams looks like this: the Chiefs’ desire to replace Tyreek Hill, the Jets and every other team that missed out when Hill was traded to the Dolphins, and AFC rivals who just want the speedster want to keep away from Patrick Mahomes arsenal.
“People look at Tyreek and go, ‘Oh my god, he’s so fast,'” said Matt Miller, draft analyst at ESPN. “It’s also versatile because you can play it indoors and outdoors. He is very physical at the catch point. He’s making 50/50 catches that 5ft 10 guys shouldn’t be making. Williams is similar in this regard. You can move him anywhere in the formation. Nobody will be able to play man coverage against you because he is so fast.”
Miller believes the Chiefs should “move heaven and earth” to secure Williams. Or steal a scene from “Draft Day” and write “Jameson Williams, no matter what” on a Post-it note. In other words, trade the #29 and #30 picks ahead of the Patriots (#21) and Bills (#25). Jumping the Jets – if they favor Williams over Drake London (broken ankle in October) and Garrett Wilson at No. 10 – is a bigger investment.
“He’s different from a lot of the fast guys that have come out in recent years in that he’s a good distance runner,” Miller said. “But it’s the ability to get people to miss the field and explode. Even the play where he got hurt was a Tyreek Hill type play.”
Jaylen Waddle’s record rookie receiver year after an ankle injury could help Williams, who moved from Ohio State (15 catches in two years) to Alabama (79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021). There’s also “no major flaw” in his character, a scouting source said.
Ojabo – considered a high-reward development project prior to his injury – is likely to drop to sixth below the fringes, but potentially further given the depth of the class. He had one career tackle before his 12-sack breakthrough in 2021.
“It’s a preference thing: some teams, who might not like year-old starters, no matter how freaky they are, will push him into the second round,” a scouting source said. “Before the injury, he could have played in special packages like the Ravens played [Ojabo’s high school teammate] Odafe Oweh last year. He’s still a top 50 guy.”
Two potential X-Factors that could lift Ojabo: Eight teams have multiple first-round picks and they “can almost afford to draft him and it’s not like your first-round pick isn’t playing this year,” he said Miller. The other scenario is a contender with depth or a team willing to move from early second round to late first round could covet the fifth-year option on Ojabo’s contract to make up for a lost year of development.
Cornerback Sidney Jones in 2017 and edge Dayo Odeyingbo in 2021 are the most recent pre-draft injuries. Both suffered a torn Achilles tendon and slipped from the projected first round to the second. Jones has been on his third team for six seasons. Odeyingbo had little impact in 10 games after his debut in October.
“Ojabo was a top-15 pick before the injury, but most of these guys who get injured in the pre-draft process don’t go back to where they were,” said a second scouting source. “It will affect him because he is raw. Hopefully the year he’s out gives him mental reps and he can learn that way.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/18/nfl-draft-2022-jameson-williams-david-ojabo-see-stock-slip/ Jameson Williams, David Ojabo see stock slip