NFL Draft Analysis: Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State Nittany Lions

by James Li on February 24, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


Penn State wide receiver Derrick Williams will be moving on to the next stage of his career, as he has entered the 2009 NFL Draft. The senior was the nation's top recruit out of high school in 2005 and enjoyed a hot start but fell victim to a season-ending arm injury. He posted above-average receiving numbers in his sophomore and junior years: 40 receptions for 440 yards with one touchdown, and 55 receptions for 529 yards with three touchdowns, respectively.

Williams posted similar numbers in 2008 (44 receptions for 485 yards and four touchdowns), which earned him All-Big Ten first-team honors. A versatile player, Williams has also doubled as an effective kick returner and situational running back.  


  • Dangerously elusive and quick with or without ball
  • Not afraid of working the middle; tough
  • Versatile: respectable return man with good ball skills
  • Intelligent player with good vision


  • Never posted fantastic numbers, despite hype from high school (never more than 529 yards)
  • Inconsistency: saw different sides of him at different times during each season
  • Minor injury/durability concerns
  • Needs to improve route-running
  • Ran a sub-par 4.64 40-yard dash at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine; had been expected to run in the high 4.4s or low 4.5s

Expected draft placement

Williams is projected to be drafted late in the second round, no later than the late third round. He is probably going to be drafted in the third round given his slow 40 times at the combine. He is a better fit for a team that is looking for an elusive, young versatile player with good hands rather than a true, pure wideout. Deemed by many to be better for the slot position at the NFL level, Williams may be used as a kick return weapon.

The Chicago Bears, who are lacking a downfield threat, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are looking for young blood in the receiving corps, are potential suitors for Williams at the 49th and 39th picks overall, respectively. Also, the New York Giants may use the 45th pick (from New Orleans) to draft Williams to be next in line behind receivers Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.

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About James Li

James Li has been a KFFL contributor since 2006.

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