In March, Detroit signed wide receiver Tyrell Williams to a one-year, prove-it type deal. Williams is coming off a major shoulder injury (torn labrum), which caused him to miss all of the 2020 season.
Williams, whose confidence has never been an issue on or off the field, was recently quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying, "I guess I don't really see it as a rebuild. I feel like any team can come out there, it's the NFL, and no matter whether the media wants to make it a rebuild or whatever they want to say, I feel like we have a chance to go out there and make the playoffs, [and] win the Super Bowl."
But, despite his big words, what is Detroit really getting in Williams?
The Lions are getting a 29-year-old WR who the Raiders released for what appears to be salary-cap related reasons.
They are getting someone who is also now playing on his third NFL team in the past four seasons. They are also getting someone who really could be affected by the shoulder injury because of how he plays the game.
Williams is a receiver on film who likes to reach up and extend his long arms to pluck the ball out of the sky. How will the shoulder hold up under those circumstances? That is anyone's guess.
Furthermore, Williams has clearly shown he is tough, and he likes to play the position with physicality. He likes to bang around with defensive backs and mix it up with them when they contend for the ball. That only further adds to the shoulder question.
If Detroit gets what I saw on film from 2019 when Williams was with the Raiders, it will be a win-win situation. However, if Williams re-aggravates the injury and only sees the field sporadically or not at all, it won't be nearly as great of a situation for the Lions or Williams.
With all of that said, this amounts to an all-or-nothing deal, and Detroit's medical staff and their decision makers must have been comfortable enough with his health to roll the dice.
With the loss of free-agent WR Kenny Golladay to the N.Y. Giants, the team had to try to do something. Williams is part of that something.
When Williams last saw the field in 2019, he put up 42 receptions for 651 yards and six touchdowns -- good for an average of 15.5 yards per catch.
WR Tyrell Williams - 6-foot-4, 205 pounds
Film study: 2019 with the Raiders, prior to the injury
Grade: C+ (Average)
Long-framed, physical receiver with longer-looking arms and deceptive playing speed. Excels at the intermediate route level. Big target. Possession type. Excels at slants inside and working with outside leverage against the sidelines. Uses his larger frame to box out smaller corners when working the inside. Good at tracking the football and at going and getting it in tighter coverages to the outside. Tough. Has a knack for running to the football when it is in the air and for making the reception.
Shows good techniques. Looks like he knows the position and the game. Good and confident hands. Reaches up and plucks the ball out of the air. Excels in the end zone, reaching out and making the grab.
Plays with a dominant personality. Very demonstrative. Emotional. Often likes to let everyone know he made the catch, including the defensive back he beat. Plays the game with attitude. Likes to mix it up with the fans, after a home touchdown. At this point of his career -- because of the missed season with the shoulder injury -- he is a wildcard.
Williams came into the league as an undrafted free agent. He knows all about uphill battles. Now, we will see if he has what it takes to climb the proverbial mountain again.
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