That question might be settled in less than 5 seconds on Friday.
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Williams, 20, entered the draft after his redshirt sophomore season of 36 receptions, 569 yards (15.8 average) and eight touchdowns. Compared to the 23-year-old Walford, who started playing football as a senior in high school, Williams is a veteran of the game. That’s because his father, Brian, was a first-round pick by the Giants in 1989 who played in 129 games (62 starts) in his career.
Williams has fond memories from his dad’s playing days. More than any of them, it was “hot-tubbing” with his dad after the games. While Dad would hop in a tub of ice water to numb away the aches and pains, Maxx would enjoy a relaxing soak in warm water.
“It was a great experience having my dad play in the NFL and growing up around that kind of atmosphere, being in the locker room and seeing what the game's all about -- actual inside the NFL, what football truly is,” he said. “I think that's helped me in my career knowing that I know what it's like and I can fall back on my dad if I have any questions. He's one of those guys I've always relied on for those questions because he's been there, he's done it, he's succeeded at the highest level.”
Walford’s memories come from a darker time. For most of his sporting life, basketball was his passion. Then a cousin, Alonzo Jones Jr., died in a car accident in 2010. Jones loved football; Walford learned to love it, too.
“I was honestly doing this for him, playing football for him,” Walford said. “He passed, so it changed my life. It just changed my whole perspective on how I look at things. It makes me want to work twice as hard.”
Both players acknowledge they have work to do to become quality NFL players. For Walford, he said his second-level blocking “needs a lot of work.” Williams pointed to his blocking, too, but though he thought that was something that would improve through maturation.
“Being only 20 years old, knowing that my body's not fully developed into what it could develop into, is a strength,” Williams said. “I feel like my biggest weakness could turn into one of my strengths, as I turn 21, 22, and get those years and experience in the weight room developing my body.”
So, who’s No. 1? For now, they both say they are.
“Because I can block, I can catch, I can run after the catch, do everything that a tight end is expected to do,” said Walford, who aspires to be the next Rob Gronkowski.
Williams, who aspires to be the next Jason Witten, gave a more modest answer.
“I'd like to say I'm one of the tight ends here and I hope this week helps me show that I do have the talent to be considered that.”
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