In a deep class of talented receivers looking to make their next big impression at the NFL level, Terrance Williams is hoping to create some separation.
This year's draft features 10 underclassmen receivers as part of the biggest influx of underclassmen the NFL has ever seen. Williams is one of the top-ranked senior receivers, but he isn't likely to be selected until somewhere late in the first round or maybe even the second round.
That's what made separation this week in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl so important. He is good at a couple of things.
"Getting downfield in a hurry and making the critical catches when you need them the most," Williams said after a Senior Bowl practice this week. "Just always being in the right spot. That's something that I take pride in the most and I will continue to."
Despite his deep speed, Williams didn't break free often enough to truly separate himself from some of the other receivers at the Senior Bowl. Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton had the best week of any of the receivers and may have moved himself into consideration for a first-round pick. Marshall's Aaron Dobson also looked solid. But entering the week, Williams had perhaps the best stock of the senior receivers and was pegged to go to the Vikings at No. 23 overall by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
"Terrance Williams from Baylor is a nice football player. I think he'd make a lot of sense at that point (for the Vikings)," Kiper said during a conference call with reports 10 days ago.
While the consistency could use some improvement, the measurables speak nicely to Williams' draft stock. He is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and can run.
"You need somebody that can play every down instead two or three downs and then you've got to come out on third down. I'm basically somebody you can keep on the field and just move around to get mismatch problems," Williams said.
Williams was the nation's leading receiver in yards per game, averaging 147 yards over the 12-game regular season. He also averaged an impressive 18.9 yards per catch and had 12 touchdowns and finished his senior season with 97 catches for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was ultra-productive in his final two seasons and finished his career with 202 receptions for 3,334 yards and 27 touchdowns.
In 2011, Williams was an outside complement to 2012 first-round pick Kendall Wright. Once Wright and quarterback Robert Griffin III left for the NFL, Williams became even more of a focus on offense and started to have visions of 2,000 yards receiving in 2012 dancing through his head as the games and statistics advanced.
"As the season kept progressing and progressing, it did scratch the back of my mind that, hey, I am close to 2,000 yards and why not get it?" Williams said. "Things happen for a reason. I'm not going to be down on myself. I'm happy with the production that I had."
He should be. He was named Associated Press All-American first team, and his 12 receiving touchdowns and 95 receptions during the regular season were both second in school history.
He also had 80 or more yards in every game up until the final two of the season.
"That just goes back to me just taking it one play and controlling what I can control," he said of his consistency for Baylor. "It's something I just took pride in trying to help my team win. There were certain games where I had a big game it really didn't bother me if we didn't win. I was just trying to be consistent the whole season because I felt like my junior year it was (uneven) and I had to make it more like a straight line."
Williams figures he will be drafted somewhere in the second half of the first round and he already had cornerbacks concerned with him earlier this week in Senior Bowl practices.
"He's a great receiver. Going against him is only going to make me better. He's one of the top receivers and I feel honored to be out here and guarding him," said San Diego State's Leon McFadden, one of the better cornerbacks that was in Mobile, Ala.
"He has good routes and you have to pay attention to technique when you're guarding somebody that's fast and has good routes."
How it all shakes out among the receivers, a position that has a big influx of juniors that declared for the draft, remains to be seen, but Williams has to at least be included in the conversation of those the Vikings should consider with one of their picks in the first two rounds.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Williams has measurables, needs consistency
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