Tim Williams

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/18/17

The latest draft signings from around the NFL:

  • The Bills have signed second-round wide receiver Zay Jones, who’s the fourth of their six draft picks to ink his rookie deal. Jones caught an FBS-record 399 passes, including a ridiculous 158 last season, in four years at East Carolina. That production helped lead the Bills to trade up for Jones, who should be the wideout-needy club’s No. 2 WR after Sammy Watkins in 2017. Jones is now dealing with a knee injury, according to ESPN’s Mike Rodak, though it doesn’t seem particularly serious.
  • The Ravens have signed third-round linebacker Tim Williams (per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun), meaning they now have their entire seven-player draft class under contract. Williams, the 78th overall pick, is coming off back-to-back seasons with at least nine sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss at Alabama. The Ravens’ hope is that both Williams and second-rounder Tyus Bowser will beef up a pass rush that finished just 24th in the league in sacks last season.
  • The Cardinals have announced the signing of third-round receiver Chad Williams, a former Grambling State standout. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Williams went 98th overall to Arizona, whose non-Larry Fitzgerald receivers didn’t offer much production in 2016. Moreover, the 2017 campaign could be Fitzgerald’s last, while John Brown will be a free agent next offseason. Therefore, it was imperative for the Cardinals to invest a relatively high pick in a wideout.
  • The Browns have inked third-round defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, per a team announcement. Ogunjobi, who went 65th overall after a strong career at UNC-Charlotte, might start immediately in Cleveland alongside fellow D-tackle Danny Shelton.
  • The Patriots have signed former Arkansas defensive lineman Deatrich Wise, a fourth-rounder who was the 131st overall selection. Wise underwhelmed as a senior with the Razorbacks last season, when he posted 3.5 sacks after totaling eight in 2015, notes Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. However, the 6-5, 274-pounder possesses “rare physical attributes,” Zierlein writes.
  • The Colts have announced the signing of fourth-round defensive tackle Grover Stewart. Formerly with Albany State, Stewart went to Indianapolis with pick No. 144. He has the makings of a developmental project, according to Zierlein.
  • Jets fifth-round tight end Jordan Leggett, the 150th selection, is now under contract. Leggett racked up a combined 86 catches and 15 touchdowns over his final two seasons at Clemson. Given both the Jets’ woeful tight end production last year and their lack of offseason upgrades at the position, Leggett could be in line to make an impact as a rookie.

Draft Rumors: Reddick, Foster, Jones, Titans

The Titans hosted Temple linebacker Haason Reddick on Monday, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Reddick, something of a swiss-army knife who can play either inside or outside ‘backer, would become yet another piece on a rapidly improving Tennessee front seven. The Titans already boast Wesley Woodyard, Avery Williamson, Brian Orakpo, and Derrick Morgan in the second level. Reddick probably won’t be in consideration for the Titans at pick No. 5, but could be in play at No. 18. The Saints have also expressed interest in Reddick, tweets Miller, and the club “likes him a lot.” New Orleans feels Reddick would be a solid fit in their 4-3 scheme.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft:

  • Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has set up a busy predraft schedule, as he’s scheduled to meet with the Colts, Bengals, Lions, Titans, and Ravens, according to Josh Norris of Rotoworld (Twitter link). Foster has already met with a number of clubs, and his packed itinerary is unsurprising given that he’s considered the top off-ball linebacker in the 2017 draft. He will combine medical re-checks this week following shoulder surgery, but has already shown full range of motion, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Like Foster, fellow Alabama alum Cam Robinson has visited a number of clubs already in the draft process, and he has a meeting planned with the Giants, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. New York already has Ereck Flowers at left tackle, but the team has made no promises that Flowers is their long-term blindside protector. I sent Robinson to the Giants at No. 23 in PFR’s first 2017 mock draft. The Ravens have also hosted Robinson, per Wilson.
  • North Carolina State safety Josh Jones is drawing the interest of multiple teams, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Clubs are digging deep: the Rams have visited Jones’ high school, while the Colts and Cardinals both contacted the high school to ask about Jones. Thus far, Jones has also been linked to Baltimore, Miami, Tennessee, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago.
  • Alabama edge rusher Tim Williams visited the Steelers on Tuesday, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Based on pure talent alone, Williams could be a top-10 talent after posting 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons in Tuscaloosa. But some scouts wouldn’t be surprised if he falls out of the first round due to his off-field baggage, which include failed drug tests and September gun charge. The Steelers are looking for another young pass presence given that James Harrison is entering his age-39 campaign.

Albert Breer On Sherman, Draft, 49ers

Seahawks GM John Schneider says that the trade rumors surrounding Richard Sherman are “real,” but the star cornerback isn’t too concerned.

Very little chance it happens, but both sides are listening,” Sherman told Albert Breer of The MMQB. “I honestly don’t have much more to say about it than what I’ve already said. We have a great relationship, . . . There is a lot of love and respect. There is no bad blood.”

Now that the Patriots are no longer interested in Sherman, it’s possible that the odds of a trade have decreased. Then again, plenty of teams will be interested in adding a high-level talent like him.

Here’s more from Breer:

  • Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams is a Top 10 talent, but Breer would be surprised if he goes in the first round due to his off-field red flags. “He’s up there with the top pure pass rushers,” said one area scout. “The real question is his personality, and the trust factor with teams. The problems aren’t rare, it’s more whether the team can trust the person. Can he work through the problems? Is he smart enough to work through the problems?” Breer notes that problems with previous high-profile pass rushers like Randy Gregory, Aldon Smith, Greg Hardy, and Dion Jordan aren’t helping Williams’ case.Williams admitted at the combine to failing tests in college and has a gun charge in his past.
  • Breer expects new 49ers GM John Lynch to try and deal down to get more picks. He has heard “from a number of people” that the Niners like Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and LSU running back Leonard Fournette.
  • Because of the perceived depth of the draft and lack of excitement about the top quarterbacks, it’s a mild market in terms of teams looking to move up.
  • Controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is likely to go in round two or three, Breer hears.

Draft Rumors: Chiefs, Browns, Ravens, Bills

The Chiefs met with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson today, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While Kansas City management has been adamant that Alex Smith is the club’s starter for 2017, that proclamation wouldn’t preclude the Chiefs from attempting to find a long-term option under center. KC has also been linked to quarterbacks such as Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft:

  • Washington wide receiver John Ross has completed his predraft visits, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, who reports Ross met with the Browns and Ravens. Ross, of course, gained notoriety at the combine after posting a record 4.22-second 40-yard dash. He’s expected to be a first-round selection, and has also been linked to the Titans and Eagles. Although he underwent labrum surgery following the combine, Ross should be ready to roll by training camp.
  • The Bills have hosted Alabama edge rusher Tim Williams, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Williams, who posted 18.5 sacks during his final two years in Tuscaloosa, should probably be a first-round pick based on talent alone, but personnel man have off-field concerns. “We’re worried about [his] weight and love of the game,” one scout told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report earlier this year. Williams was also arrested on a gun charge in September.
  • North Carolina State safety Josh Jones worked out for the Titans on Tuesday and is meeting with the Vikings on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Jones, who is expected to be selected near the end of the first round or in the early part of Day 2, also has visits scheduled with the Browns, Steelers, and Bears, per Rapoport. Thus far, Jones has also been linked to Baltimore and Miami.

NFL Draft Rumors: Thomas, 49ers, Davis

There continues to be lots of talk about Solomon Thomas going No. 2 overall, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report hears (Twitter links). However, he’s not totally convinced that it’ll the 49ers taking him. On one hand, the Niners could use a strong 4-3 defensive end and Thomas could be used a role similar to what Michael Bennett has filled for Seattle. At the same time, Miller can also see the Niners trading out from No. 2, allowing the Panthers or Jaguars to move up for Thomas.

Miller speculates that SF could send the No. 2 overall pick to Carolina for the Nos. 8 and 40 selections. Recently, PFR’s Dallas Robinson ran down a number of scenarios in which the Panthers could come away with that highly-coveted draft choice.

While we wait to see how that plays out, here’s a roundup of the latest draft rumors:

Draft Rumors: Garrett, Williams, McKinley

Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett is beginning to “pull away” from the rest of the 2017 draft class, an unnamed NFL general manager tells Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, adding Garrett is becoming just as clear a No. 1 pick as quarterback Andrew Luck was in 2012. The Browns hold that first overall selection and reportedly have an “astronomical grade” on Garrett, so Cleveland likely agrees with one director of player personnel who believes using the No. 1 pick on someone other than Garrett would be a mistake. “Passing on Garrett is like passing on a young Bruce Smith,” the executive told Miller. “You don’t pass on a kid like that.”

Here’s more from the 2017 draft:

  • Alabama edge rusher Tim Williams could end up slipping to the second round, as one NFL scout tells Miller. “We’re worried about [his] weight and love of the game,” said the evaluator. “His combine weigh-in will be really huge.” Citing questions about “character and decision-making,” Miller writes Williams could fall to Day 2 even though he flashes top-20 ability. Williams, who was arrested on a gun charge in September, posted 18.5 sacks over the past two years in Tuscaloosa, but doesn’t rate among Miller’s top 50 prospects (though other analysts, such as Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com, rank Williams as the draft’s second-best outside linebacker).
  • The 2017 quarterback class is widely considered the worst since at least 2013, and one area scout indicated to Miller that he wouldn’t feel comfortable with any of Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, or a host of others leading his franchise. “All the quarterbacks … [are] terrible,” said the scout. “I wouldn’t want to put my job on the line for any quarterback in this class. And to think about taking one in the first round? No way. I’m sure someone will do it, but it’s mind-blowing.”
  • UCLA linebacker Takkarist McKinley could require shoulder surgery following the combine, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, who adds no “definitive determination” has been made in regards to McKinley’s health status. McKinley, a two-year starter for the Bruins, racked up 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles in 2016. A projected first-round pick, McKinley ranks as the best available outside linebacker in the 2017 class, per Todd McShay of ESPN.com.
  • NFL teams are frustrated that red-flag players such as Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly and Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon were not invited to the combine, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (Twitter link) and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “Any of these guys with question marks need to be vetted,” one source told Florio. Kelly, for what it’s worth, may still travel to Indianapolis, perhaps with the hope of meeting with clubs outside of the combine structure, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes.

Draft Notes: QBs, Browns, Alabama

Thanks in part to his heroics this past Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, outgoing Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s draft stock is soaring, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN. After Watson completed 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns (one rushing) in Clemson’s 35-31 win over Alabama, two NFL personnel directors and one general manager informed Schefter that the 21-year-old will go in the top half of the first round this spring. All regard Watson as a soon-to-be top 10 pick, and it’s possible he’ll go to the Browns at No. 1 overall.

“He struggled some in midseason, so everyone got off him,” said a personnel director. “But these last couple of weeks, he’s skyrocketing up to the top 10 picks, with the two playoff game wins. Now people are going to say, ‘Wait a minutes, he’s played Alabama the past couple of years really well, he won a national championship, he can be a Mariota, he can be a [Dak] Prescott, great character, great kid.’ People will not want to miss him. I think he’s definitely going in the top 10.”

A bit more on Cleveland and the draft:

  • While the Browns also own the 12th pick in the draft, odds are they’ll have to take a quarterback at No. 1 – be it Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky or Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer – if they like him enough, several draft experts and talent evaluators told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “A lot of teams need quarterbacks and they will overvalue them and reach,” an NFL personnel executive said. In assessing the three signal-callers, a talent evaluator opined, “[Watson] was very impressive in that game and has a special skill set. Accuracy is always a concern. His body of work makes him safer than Trubisky, but Trubisky has a big upside. Kizer is solid, but I don’t think he’s ready to play right away. Watson appears to be the only one who could hold his own right now.” The Browns reportedly “love” Trubisky, but taking him, Watson or Kizer would mean passing on Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett – with whom they’re also smitten.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart and cornerback Marlon Humphrey each declared for the draft Friday. CBS Sports ranks Robinson as the 12th-best player in this year’s class and the top tackle in a weak crop. Humphrey isn’t far behind (No. 15), while the outlet projects Stewart to go in the second round.
  • Another Alabama product, edge rusher Tim Williams, is likely to slip out of the first round because of Randy Gregory-esque issues with substances (marijuana, to be exact), according to Charlie Champbell of WalterFootball.com. Like Gregory, whom the NFL handed a one-year suspension earlier this month (already the third ban of his two-year career), Williams has several failed drug tests to his name. Williams picked up 18.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss during his final two years at Alabama, but similarly excellent college production wasn’t enough for Gregory (16.5 sacks, 26.5 TFL) to go in Round 1 in 2015. It seems Williams’ case will be a repeat this year.

Alabama LB Tim Williams Arrested

Early this morning, Alabama linebacker Tim Williams was arrested on a gun charge, as Kelvin Reynolds of WBRC writes. Williams is (or was) a potential first round candidate in the 2017 NFL Draft. Tim Williams (vertical)

Authorities say that Williams was carrying a Glock 41 without a permit when they found him in the parking lot of a Publix supermarket around 2 a.m. ET. Cops smelled burned marijuana and found a bag of pot in the center console of the Chevy Impala. When asked about the weed, Williams said that his his friend “Brandon Chicken” gave it to him to hold. Williams, it seems, has badly damaged his draft stock while also introducing the best alias we’ve heard since Carlos Danger.

Williams told officers that he bought the gun in his native Louisiana and had a temporary permit, though he didn’t have it on his person at the time of the arrest. The linebacker was taken to jail, but he was later released on a $300 bond.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.