Catching up with Reggie Williams

Draft experts be damned. With all the moves going up and down on boards from Seattle to Miami, Reggie Williams' name never came up much. It wasn't that the Washington receiver wasn't coveted, it was just that the receiver-hungry teams had been identified and Williams' place on the list of eligible wideouts was fairly consistent. But the analysis was staggering.

"Some would say this Williams wasn't as good as some other receivers available..."

"...needs to mature a bit, both on and off the field."

"...Could turn up the intensity as a blocker."

"Displays no passion for blocking."

Excuse me? Is there another Reggie Williams from Washington that was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars that I don't know about? Is there something about the NFL draft credo that states you HAVE to find something wrong about everybody, as well as stating the blindingly obvious?

"Has long legs and long arms." Yes, that was another draft analyst's comment. After scouring page after page of 'analysis', I have two questions.

How much do they get paid? How can I get some of that free money apparently being thrown around to people that have the combined football IQ of a down marker?

"He has been a playmaker and a go-to guy for his entire college career." OK, now that's the Williams I had the pleasure of watching the past three years.

"I don't read any of it," Williams told Dawgman.com when asked about the various criticisms aimed at him before the draft. "I know my own abilities and I go one-hundred percent every chance I get. I don't believe any of it is true."

The 6-5, 230-pound Williams will now call Jacksonville home, as the Jags took him as the number-9 pick. Most analysts had him in the mid to high-teens, but Reggie always thought differently.

"I felt that I was a top-10 pick, so I wasn't surprised at all."

So while his former teammates were getting ready for Washington's spring game, Reggie was also in Seattle, but sitting down and getting ready for his name to be called. And for those that watched Ben Roethlisberger get a call from Pittsburgh just moments before they used their 11th overall pick on him, Williams experienced the same instant euphoria two spots sooner.

"You can't prepare yourself for the draft because it's so crazy," Reggie said. "I got a call about a minute before the pick. I was ecstatic."

And as soon as the ecstacy came, it was gone. Reggie Williams is now a professional football player. And as such, he went back to his pre-draft ritual, traveling to Houston for a couple of days of training before eventually making it down to Jacksonville for the first time a few days ago.

"Everybody is happy," Williams said of the situation he finds himself in. "My parents are happy that I'm at a place where I can showcase my talents and go to the Super Bowl."

Add to that a recent trade that saw former Jags wideout Kevin Johnson leave Jacksonville for Baltimore and the path to a starting spot for Williams has been paved. Now all he has to do is rise to the expectations put on a top-10 pick.

Or in the case of the draft analysts, beyond expectations. In at least one important way, things won't be that much different between Seattle and Jacksonville because Reggie will have at least one familiar face.

"I talked to him yesterday, I'm happy that we get to be together still," Williams said of Rich Alexis, signed by Jacksonville as a free agent. "Hakim Akbar is down there too, so there are a lot of Huskies here."

And that's important for Williams, because he doesn't want to forget where he's been and what he is.

"I'm a Dawg for life."

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