Speed, versatility should serve Williams well

If you are not expected to be selected on the first day of the NFL draft, your performance in the NFL Combine can a long way in improving your stock. Such was the case for former ASU wide receiver Kyle Williams, who talked to Devils Digest about his performance in that event and his prospects at the next level.

Nearly every player that participates in the NFL Combine characterizes it as the proverbial meat market and now that he has experienced last week's extravaganza Kyle Williams does not disagree.

"Everywhere you walk around, even when the cameras aren't there you always have your shirt with your name and number on it," said Kyle Williams. "Coaches are always looking you up and down as you walk by and pull you aside for a quick question. But I talked to guys like Rudy Burgess and Mike Jones before the combine so I knew kind of what to expect.

"It was definitely an interesting experience. But you only get to do it once so you just soak it up and make the best out of it."

And that he did.

The wide receiver was clocked in the 40-yard dash a low as a 4.36, and after averaging both of his heats he was listed in the top five at his position at a 4.43. In fact there were only seven participants regardless of position who ran a faster time at the combine.

Additionally out of 44 receivers at the event, Williams ran the 8th best 20-Yard Shuttle posting a 4.19 mark.

"That was the biggest thing I took away from the whole event – that I was able to compete," explained Williams. "So I felt good about how I preformed and hopefully that raises me up a little bit in the eyes of teams around the league so I can get selected in the middle rounds of the draft.

"I ran well, caught the ball well there…so we'll see what happens."

It has been well documented how disappointing of a season 2009 was for the Arizona State offense. Nonetheless, Williams was one of the only bright lights of that unit. That year the slot wide receiver set career highs for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, recording team highs with 57 receptions for 815 yards (14.3 avg.) and eight touchdowns.

Williams also served as the team's primary punt return man, returning 23 punts for 229 yards (10.0 avg.) on the year, which earned him Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors as a punt returner, the third straight season he received all-conference honors as a return man.

So where does he feel he will make his niche in the NFL: on offense or special teams?

"When I sat down with coaches and scouts they seem to put more emphasis on the slot receiver position," stated Williams. "They told me they liked me very much as a slot guy. But the main thing I also took from every meeting was that I really needed to do well on special teams and they needed to know how fast I can run.

"So I knew if I ran fast in the combine that I would really improve my position. That's because you have to be open to play special teams positions that you didn't play in college and that's where your speed helps you. If it's between you and another wide receiver to make the team, they will always keep the player that can play better on special teams. It's that simple."

Dozens of teams approach each combine participant, and for Williams there were naturally some that stuck out a little more than the rest of the pack last week in Indianapolis.

"Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears showed a lot of interest," recalled Williams. "But sometimes the team that ends up drafting you is the one that you barely talked to or didn't talk to at all. We'll see how it all works out. I'll be happy to play anywhere.

"I just want my name to get called."

When he looks back at his four years in the maroon and gold, Williams feels that he "did all right" during his Tempe tenure and realizes that his overall productivity could have been higher.

"There are times I could have played better," admitted Williams, "and I also wish I had more opportunities but I guess that comes with the territory. At wide receiver you have to make plays when you're in there and I felt I did that. But I wish it would have translated into more wins because we had a lot more talent than our record showed."

Next for Williams is ASU's Pro Day which takes place on the 26th of this month. A strong showing at that event should lead to some private workouts with selected teams next month.

"I expected to run that fast in the combine and I expect to run even faster at Pro Day," claimed Williams. "Times are always going be slower at the combine and always faster on Pro Day when you run on turf. It's obviously very important to do well on Pro Day because you don't get that many chances to show scouts what you got."

The last game Williams played at Sun Devil stadium was memorable for good and bad reasons. Playing against in-state rival Arizona, the wide receiver scored on a 4th down catch to tie the game with just over two minutes left. A minute later, he muffed a punt that led to the winning field goal for his opponent.

"Unfortunately I'm never going to forget that muffed punt," said Williams. "I'm really not going to forget the whole game and everything that happened in it. It went so quick from my highest moment to my lowest one.

"But that's football. I can't say it's a blessing in disguise or anything like that. I watched that muffed punt a bunch of times and I got over it. It's something that happened and I hope I'm better for it."

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