As the NFL draft moves to less than one week away, one question still looms. Who will be the first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft?

Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and USC’s Drake London are in contention, but Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams has seen his stock rise over the last month. Multiple teams view Williams as a “perennial Pro Bowler and franchise cornerstone”, per Jordan Schultz.

The St. Louis native quickly burst onto the scene this past season for the Crimson Tide after spending two years at Ohio State. In his first outing, Williams reeled in a 94-yard touchdown reception against Miami, showcasing that elite level speed that made him a two-time state champion in the 300-meter hurdles in high school. In fact, he broke Ezekiel Elliott’s state record in the event.

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He became the first player in school history to return two kickoffs for a touchdown in the same game, one from 100 and 83 yards, respectively in a win over Southern Miss.

His connection with Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young continued to blossom as the season progressed. Against Texas A&M, Williams caught 10 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He had another 10-catch performance against LSU for 160 yards and a touchdown.

Williams set a new season-high mark with three receiving touchdowns on six receptions for 158 yards against New Mexico State. The following week, he caught eight passes for a career-best 190 yards and three touchdowns against Arkansas. Williams became the first player in Alabama history to record four touchdowns of 75-plus yards in a single season.

He torched a Georgia defense in the SEC Championship Game that was ranked No. 1 in the country when he reeled in seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns from 67 and 55 yards, respectively. It was his fourth 150-plus yard game in the last five contests.

Williams finished the season with 79 receptions for 1,579 yards and 15 touchdowns, earning first-team All-American honors. He was also named the SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year.

The star wideout continues to progress from an ACL injury he suffered on Jan. 10. Williams said at Alabama’s Pro Day that he is “ahead of schedule” in his rehab and expects to be fully cleared physically before the start of training camp.

“I think there’s still a legit chance he could surprise us and be the first overall wide receiver off the board,” said NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “If you go back and look over the last few years, this league is obsessed with speed. And there’s a reason for it. If you look at Tyreek Hill and the difference he made with the Kansas City Chiefs, it kind of charged the perception there.”

“Every year we see these wideouts with big-time speed get pushed up the board. And this kid isn’t just a pure speed guy. He’s got a lot of other things. He’s really though, he’s physical. He’s got a chance to go all the way up there. And if he was the 10th pick in the draft, it wouldn’t shock me. He’s got a lot of buzz around the league.”

At 6-foot-1 and 179 lbs., Williams is an electrifying playmaker that can take the top off of a defense. He’s a great route runner with big yards after catch ability.

Atlanta owns the No. 8 pick in the draft and has to completely revamp its receiving core because of the loss of Russell Gage in free agency and Calvin Ridley to a season long suspension.

The Jets at No. 10 are in the market for a wide receiver as they continue to build around second year quarterback Zach Wilson. The Commanders could also be in play at No. 11 if they want to pair another elite receiver with Terry McLaurin.

Green Bay currently has picks 22 and 28, which they could use to package in a deal and move up in the draft. A recent trade that sent Davante Adams to the Raiders has left the Packers in desperate need of a dynamic pass catcher for Aaron Rodgers.

The 2022 NFL draft will begin on Thursday, April. 28 in Las Vegas and air on ESPN and the NFL Network.

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