Rookie Reaction: Derrick Williams

WR Derrick Williams established a reputation as a playmaker while catching passes, running the ball, and returning punts and kicks for Penn State. Now he'll be putting those skills to work for the Detroit Lions.'s Ed Thompson talked with Williams last week before he left for his first minicamp.

Ed Thompson: So make me feel like I was sitting next to you when the phone call came in from the Detroit Lions. Tell me where you were and what was going on.

Derrick Williams: I was sitting in my living room, I had just gotten back from playing some video games with some of my friends. My agent, my father, my mother and my high school coach were with me when the call came in. The GM for the Detroit Lions asked me if I was ready to become a Detroit Lion, told me that they were very excited about me being a part of their team, and then said that with the next pick they were going to pick me up. I looked up at the TV and my name came up. It was really special.

Thompson: Did they give you an indication of where they see you fitting into their plans?

Williams: I think we all of the same plans, playing in the slot, helping out on kick return and punt return.

Thompson:  Had you heard from the Lions much before that phone call, Derrick?

Williams: No, not much. I hadn't talked with them personally. My agent was in constant communication with them, and he was telling me that they were very interested in me. He thought they were going to take me in the second round.

Thompson: Do you know any of the players in Detroit who can help make your the transition to the NFL a bit easier?

Williams:  Yeah, one of my mentors and best friends, Bryant Johnson, just got traded over there from San Francisco, so it'll be good to be there with him. 

Thompson:  You'll also have a chance to work with another talented receiver, Calvin Johnson, so that's got to be exciting as well.

Williams: Yeah, it's very exciting, and I'm ready to get to work with those guys. I've heard so many great things about them. I actually had the opportunity to work out with Bryant, so I'm excited about going there.  

Williams sprints with the ball while playing for Penn State.
AP Photo/Andy Manis

Thompson:  Even though Matthew Stafford has drawn a lot of attention in this draft, I'm excited about seeing what Derrick Williams can do for the Lions out of the slot and while returning punts and kicks. So first, talk about how you'll be able to help the Lions out of that slot position.

Williams: That's where I'm most comfortable. With two great receivers on the outside, if I get an opportunity to be a part of that receiver corps, I can see myself creating matchups where I can make some catches and run.

Thompson:  What do you think you'll be able to do for Detroit as a return specialist?

Williams: I'm going to try to bring some excitement and helped the team out with momentum. Momentum plays a role in how the game flows when someone makes a big play on special teams.

Thompson:  Derrick, is there anything you want to pass on to the Detroit fans as we wrap this up?

Williams: Please tell them that I was sick as a dog at the Combine and I know I made a mistake by running. At my Pro Day I ran a 4.37, and I've historically run a 4.4-flat. So they've definitely got some speed with me.

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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or contact him by email through this link.

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