The Detroit Lions made a bold move in the 2022 NFL Draft, trading up to pick injured Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams No. 12 overall. The 6-foot-1 wideout tore his ACL in the 2022 national championship game, and the Lions have been understandably conservative with his rehab, holding him out the first 12 weeks of the NFL season. However, now he’s back, and the Detroit coaching staff has a decidedly un-conservative plan for him, according to FOX insider Jay Glazer, and Howie Long says it illustrates exactly why the Lions are the Lions.
Howie Long doesn’t like Lions’ plan to use Jameson Williams on special teams
Just about 11 months after tearing his ACL in Alabama’s championship game loss to Georgia, WR Jameson Williams will make his return to football in the Detroit Lions Week 13 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show, NFL insider Jay Glazer reported on Williams’ return to football and the team’s plan for him this week.
“[The Lions] think [Williams] is going to be quite a weapon for them,” Glazer reported. “They’re not just going to play him on offense today. They’re even going to play him some at gunner, which is really odd for a guy coming off an ACL injury.”
“That’s wild,” Curt Menefee exclaimed.
“Never heard of that,” Terry Bradshaw noted.
Howie Long summed up the odd decision by Dan Campbell and company best by simply saying, with a wry smile on his face, “That’s why Detroit struggles.”
The loaded 2022 wideout draft class
There were six wide receivers drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft:
- Atlanta Falcons, No. 8: Drake London, USC
- New York Jets, No. 10: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
- New Orleans Saints, No. 11: Chris Olave, Ohio State
- Detroit Lions, No. 12: Jameson Williams
- Washington Commanders, No. 16: Jahan Dotson, Penn State
- Tennessee Titans, No. 18: Treylon Burks, Arkansas
And there were seven drafted in Round 2:
- Green Bay Packers, No. 34: Christian Watson, North Dakota State
- New York Giants, No. 43: Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
- Houston Texans, No. 44: John Metchie III, Alabama
- New England Patriots, No. 50: Tyquan Thornton, Baylor
- Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 52: George Pickens, Georgia
- Indianapolis Colts, No. 53: Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
- Kansas City Chiefs, No. 54: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
This group has, on balance, been excellent in their rookie seasons. Chris Olave leads the group in receiving yards (822) and receptions (56), while Christian Watson’s six touchdowns are the best in the class.
All the other first-rounders have made major impacts on their teams this season. In the second round, almost every pick has contributed as well. The only player who hasn’t played from that group is John Metchie III, who was sadly diagnosed with leukemia before the season.
George Pickens had been particularly notable from this second-round group, as he’s made some highlight-reel grabs this season.
If not for the injury, Jameson Williams may have been the best WR in the class. In his final college season, he had 79 catches, 1,572 receiving yards (fifth in the FBS), and 15 receiving touchdowns (T-3 in FBS) in 15 starts. He also added two kick return touchdowns.
The Lions should benefit greatly from having Williams across from Amon-Ra St. Brown and from Williams’ special teams ability. On returns, that is, not as a gunner.