AnalysisWilliams is the top tight end prospect in this draft class. He was very good in the Gopher’s run first offense, finishing with only 61 receptions for 986 yards and 13 scores. Williams has good size (6-4/254), soft hands and runs well (despite slower time than what most scouts wanted to see at Combine). He can play in-line and is a good blocker at the point of attack. Williams also has the athleticism to play in the slow or put in motion on the move. He only played two seasons at Minnesota.
Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation
Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:
Baltimore moves up to select the draft’s top tight end in this 2015 class in Maxx Williams. He was very good in the Gopher’s run first offense, finishing with only 61 receptions for 986 yards and 13 scores. Williams has good size (6-4/254), soft hands and runs well (despite slower time than what most scouts wanted to see at Combine). He can play in-line and is a good blocker at the point of attack. Williams also has the athleticism to play in the slow or put in motion on the move. He only played two seasons at Minnesota.
Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:
At the end of the 2014 season, scouts began returning to their respective team complexes from months-long road trips. In discussions with their respective college scouting directors, when the issue of the tight end talent came up, few of those scouts were impressed with the 2015 draft class. Most everyone agreed that there was no first round talent within that bunch, and possibly not even a player worthy of second round status.
Shortly before the bowl season began, word began to filter to those tight end-needy teams that there was a silver lining around the dark cloud of talent they were trying to analyze – the best tight end in college, one that has been compared often to Carolina’s Greg Olsen, a player with the size and pass catching ability of New England’s Rob Gronkowski, had decided to enter his name into the draft pool.
Despite just two seasons of college varsity football, Minnesota’s Maxx Williams has long been known within the scouting circles. The obvious reasons are his athleticism, size, speed and first baseman’s glove-like hands. Playing for a team that is predominantly a running unit, Williams managed to haul in 61 passes for 986 yards in 25 games, as more than 21% of those grabs came inside the end zone (thirteen touchdowns).
Scouts see a player who can line up as the tradition tight end, or be utilized in motion, thanks to his quick feet, pinpoint cutback ability and urgency he shows building his acceleration into the second level. They also see a “blue blood” legacy, or perhaps in this case, a “purple” one, who has deep roots in the university folk lore, along with a familiarity from Gophers fans, who cheered on his father as he battled in the trenches.
In a draft year where the tight end position is sorely lacking in quality talent, the Mackey Award finalist saw this as his best opportunity for securing an early round draft pick. While some might are labeling him as the “next Rob Gronkowski,” one can only imagine what he might be capable of doing with a pro-style quarterback. The Gophers are usually a ground-oriented attack and Williams does not get the high amount of targeted balls as others, but he’s pulled in close to 80% of those tosses, averaging 16.16 yards with 13 touchdowns on 61 catches in 25 career games.
Williams demonstrates very good balance and body control, with good timed speed and quickness for his position. He has soft, natural hands and loose hips to adjust to the off-target throws. He runs with a normal stride and shows the functional strength to get a clean release vs. the press. Because of a lack of explosion, he does not appear as fast as his timed speed indicates, but he has the agility to adjust and get under the pass once he is on the move.
Williams is best when used on screens and fades. He has the size and strength to power through the jam and enough quickness to get open underneath. He shows the feel to adjust to uncover and effective ball reaction to look the pass in. He is a big target over the middle and does a very good job of adjusting to the ball in flight. He lacks the vertical explosion to get deep consistently, but can power through arm tackles to gain additional yardage after contact.
Gaining additional yards after the catch is where Williams’ lower body power comes into play, as he is very good at breaking arm tackles. He runs with good body lean to gain yardage after contact. He has the straight-line acceleration and run vision to power through the trash. He is not considered an elusive runner, but he can turn it up field vs. linebackers and safeties, as he shows the natural power to gain the extra yardage. It is very rare to see him brace and fall down at the point of attack.
Maxx Williams NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-4/249 (4.78 forty)
33 1/2-inch arm length
10 3/8-inch hands
34.5-inch vertical jump
117-inch broad jump
4.37 20 yard shuttle
12.631 60 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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