The Lions made a concerted effort to upgrade their receiving corps this past offseason.
Williams was the definition of a big-play threat during his time with the Crimson Tide.
During the 2021 campaign (his lone season at Alabama), the 6-foot-2, 189-pound receiver set a Crimson Tide single-season record with four touchdown catches of at least 70 yards. He also led the nation with 11 touchdown catches of at least 30 yards. For the season, he amassed 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Williams, however, hasn't played a single snap yet for the Lions during the 2022 season. It's due to the fact that he's been recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered during Alabama's national title game loss to Georgia.
Yet, there's a chance that the game-changing wideout returns to the practice field within the next few weeks.
At this juncture, he's approximately eight months removed from surgery, and he's eligible to come off the reserve/non-football injury (NFI) list as soon as after the Lions' contest with the Seattle Seahawks this week.
"He’s coming along,” Randle El told reporters Wednesday. “Wish it was yesterday, but just coming along. We’ll see. Just got to keep working at it. And, that’s the thing. He’s working hard, not just in the weight room, but (also) in the training room and all that stuff. Trying to get back and get going, and get his first taste, so to speak.”
Williams' first taste in a regular season game likely won't come until after Detroit's bye in Week 6. It could lead to him making his NFL debut against Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 23.
Until then, Williams has the opportunity to continue working on the "mental" side of lining up at receiver in the NFL.
"It’s the mental aspect of it. He’s picking it up. We go over it every day. In between sessions, we go over the plays with him. He can spit it right back out to me," Randle El said. "The tough part is, right now, we can’t get him out in the field and get him lined up and all that type stuff, because of rules or whatever. But, to be able to do that, get on the board and write it up -- you just work every week, you know, what’s in the gameplan? ‘Hey, here it is,’ and him go through it and give it to you. So, he understands it.
“He can talk to you about coverages, stuff like that. So, he gets it. The physical part, I’m not worried about. It’s always the mental you want to make sure a guy has. He has it. He’s getting it down.”
From all accounts, Williams is grasping all the concepts that Randle El and the Lions' coaching staff are throwing at him, and the first-year pro is actively acclimating himself with the team's playbook.
"He’s a guy you can move around,” Randle El expressed. “He’s smart, and he gets it, in terms of being in different spots. That’s what you want to do with a guy like that -- use his speed, whether it’s him running past somebody or him getting somebody else open. That speed means a lot. And, then obviously, he catches the ball well and gets in and out of his cuts. Him and Saint (Amon-Ra St. Brown) get out of cuts so fast. It’s unbelievable. Some people take four steps. This cat takes like two-and-a-half. It’s unbelievable. It’s good to see.”
Jared Goff 'Steady Voice' as Leader of Lions' Offense
Since joining the Lions in 2021, the seventh-year pro has embraced being one of the team's leaders, both on and off the field.
"Hopefully someone that guys can look to when things are bad, is kind of what I try to stick with," Goff said, when describing what he believes comprises a leader. "Be that steady voice, that guy they can see every day that's kind of consistent, doing the same thing and can provide clarity when things are kind of chaotic."
Eleven of Goff's teammates appeared on the Lions' Week 4 injury report. This included Goff's top two weapons, D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown, both of whom could ending up sitting out Sunday against the Seahawks.
Goff isn't sweating it, however, and believes that Detroit possesses the necessary reinforcements to overcome the potential losses this week.
"Obviously, we may or may not have a couple of those guys, and we'll see as the week goes. But, the guys that would step in, I'd feel comfortable with," Goff conveyed. "I've had a lot of reps with all those guys. And, last year, as brutal as it was, there was a lot of valuable reps with a lot of those guys that would need to potentially step in. So, it's guys that I all feel comfortable with."