TE Williams shows off hands, hips at pro day

Tight end Maxx Williams continued to build on his résumé as the best tight end in the draft with his pro day performance. He talked about his performance and his prospects for the NFL.

Minnesota Gophers tight end Maxx Williams didn’t need to run or lift at his pro day to impress NFL scouts. He let his football skills do the talking on Monday.

Williams put on a solid performance Monday in front of representatives from 23 NFL teams. He measured in at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, but it was his hands that impressed and his hips that he was looking to showcase.

“From the combine, I tried to show them the blocking that I can bring, (get) my hips through better and they’re not as stiff as they think,” Williams said.

“I want to be like Jason Witten or Kyle Rudolph, knowing that they block real well and run really good routes and catch the ball – that kind of complete tight end.”

Williams had been working out in California with Rudolph and appreciated the Minnesota Vikings’ veteran advice for him. Rudolph told Williams to enjoy the pre-draft process and let the chips fall where they may.

Williams decided to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft after two productive seasons at Minnesota, where he caught a combined 61 passes for 986 yards in 2013 and 2014. He received a third-round grade from the NFL’s advisory committee.

Since then, however, his stock has been on the rise as scouts get a chance to view more film of the athletic tight end and see him in person. He is the top-ranked tight end in Scout.com’s draft rankings and 38th overall.

Most analysts now consider him the best tight end in the draft.

“I’ll never say that because there are a lot of great tight ends in this draft, but I want the combine and this to show that I am considered that, and people that say that, it kind of helps reinforce that I could be (the best),” he said.

“It’s all a dream right now for me. I’m living my dream and not many people can say they do that. So for me it’s one day at a time – go and do the work for the day and then when I finally hear my name called it will all set in. I will have finally accomplished my goal and from there, time to go to work and have fun.”

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Williams’ 4.78-second 40-yard dash was third-fastest among tight ends, and he had 17 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press and had solid showings in the vertical jump (34½ inches), broad jump (9-foot-9) and shuttle drills.

He elected not to do those timing and lifting drills at his pro day.

“Just come in here and get ready for the position drills and show what actual football is,” he said.

He slipped on one of his routes at his pro day, but still managed to stay upright and make a difficult catch. It was the only real misstep on the day, saying he had a “pretty solid day” and wanted to show the scouts and coaches in attendance that “what I did at the combine wasn’t a fluke.”

Among the teams represented were the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings (who ran the event), Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles. Bengals tight end coach Jonathan Hayes helped with some of Williams’ drills.

“Your goal is to go in the first round, but for me I just want to be drafted. That’s why I came out; I want to be a pro,” Williams said. “As long as I hear my name called on one of those three days I’ll be happy.”

Williams had 21 formal interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Great kid. I think everybody knows about his athletic skill set and what he can do in the passing game,” said Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who was among a large contingent of Vikings coaches at the event. “He’s a young player, shows a lot of speed – plays fast when he catches the ball. He continues to improve as a run blocker. So he’s going to have, I believe, a very productive career in the NFL.”




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