It’s that time of the year again where the communities of SB Nation come together to mock the first round of this year’s NFL draft. While I’m sure you’ve all been bombarded with mocks over the past few months, an exercise like this between team communities is always good for some entertainment and interesting debates.
Unlike general draft analysts who make their mock draft selection based on whatever information they have about said team, this exercise allows us to see what players the fans personally want for their teams. This usually means some players are selected much higher than expected and it’s always interesting to see the justification behind such decisions. Unfortunately, that also means maybe some players you’d expect to be there at your team’s pick, aren’t there because one fan base or another wanted said player in the worst way.
Either way, it’s always a blast when we get the chance to do something like this.
Before we dive into the Chargers’ selection, here’s how the board fell through the first 16 picks in the opening round:
Pick 1, Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Pick 2, Detroit Lions: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Pick 3, Houston Texans: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Pick 4, New York Jets: OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
Pick 5, New York Giants: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
Pick 6, Carolina Panthers: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Pick 7, New York Giants: CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati
Pick 8, Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
Pick 9, Seattle Seahawks: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Pick 10, New York Jets: WR Drake London, USC
Pick 11, Washington Commanders: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Pick 12, Minnesota Vikings: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
Pick 13, Houston Texans: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
Pick 14, Baltimore Ravens: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Pick 15, Philadelphia Eagles: DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
Pick 16, New Orleans Saints: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Without further ado, let’s dive into the pick.
Pick 17, Los Angeles Chargers: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
I’ve participated in a handful of “group” mock drafts this offseason and I just to say, the Chargers aren’t usually in a good spot when their time comes to pick in the first round. For the most part, the top offensive tackles worthy of going on day one are usually off the board while none of the blue chip prospects manage to slip out of the top 10-12 picks. That usually meant when I was up to pick, there wasn’t anything close to an obvious pick.
Luckily, at least in my opinion, I was given a pretty obvious choice here in the SB Nation community mock.
With the top four offensive tackles already taken, along with Georgia’s Jordan Davis, being able to land an All-American in Jameson Williams seemed like a pretty good backup plan. With the Chargers having added plenty of notable players at various positions of need this offseason, it sets them up for the opportunity to take the best player available at 17 and I don’t see how it isn’t Williams and his offense-altering skillset.
In just his lone year starring for the Crimson Tide, Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and a whopping 15 touchdowns, a number that ranked third in the nation. But despite his elite speed and athleticism displayed on offense, he also has the ability to level up a club’s special teams unit as a return threat. This past season, Williams returned 10 kickoffs for a combined 352 yards and took two kicks back for touchdowns.
While all of this sounds spectacular, we have to mention the obvious.
During the national title game earlier this year against Georgia, Williams tore his ACL. After undergoing tests, it was deemed that Williams’ timetable for recovery was better than many would have expected. While he hasn’t been able to perform or test in front of scouts, Williams is currently on pace to be back on the field in time for training camp. That would put him between five and six months post-surgery. At the end of the day, however, Williams isn’t against waiting a bit longer if it means feeling closer to 100 percent prior to returning to play.
Just came across one of favorite plays from this year’s draft cycle. Checkout @AlabamaFTBL WR Jameson Williams (in slot) throwing up the hand when he gets even with DB, signaling Bryce Young to launch deep ball. That’s some old-school Randy Moss stuff by @bigsgjamo. pic.twitter.com/3GEziQSStY— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) April 14, 2022
Whenever that time comes, Williams will instantly become the most explosive wideout on the Chargers. His 6’2 frame keeps the receiver corps one of the tallest in the NFL while his elite long speed gives the offense a shot of juice that it hasn’t had in quite some time. Yes, you can point to Jalen Guyton, but he’s far from the total package the Bolts will be getting in Williams. The former track star in high school — he broke Ezekiel Elliott’s state record in the 300-meter hurdles — is the type of receiver who has the potential to score wherever he catches the ball on the field. While I think it’s still a stretch to compare him to former Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill, he’s the closest thing to a Hill-type player that the Chargers have had in recent memory. Add in that Justin Herbert will be throwing him the ball and it’s tough not to think this immediately becomes one of the best receiver rooms in the entire league.
So what do you all think? Was Williams the right pick at 17? Let me know all your thoughts below!
Best Players Available:
- DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
- WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
- WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
- CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
- OL Zion Johnson, Boston College
- EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue