On the heels of a stellar performance at the NFL combine, the Baltimore Ravens selected Maxx Williams in the second round of this year’s draft, with the 55th overall pick. Williams is a tight end from the University of Minnesota of the Big-Ten Conference. Coming from an athletic family, Williams entered the draft early as a redshirt sophomore. The family name has quite the athletic acumen, with dad having played for the New York Giants, his grandfather being drafted by the Chicago Bears, and his mother having played volleyball for Minnesota as well. During the 2014 season, he started 10 games and ended up a Mackey Award finalist for the top tight end in the country, in addition to being selected to the first team All-Big Ten. He also set a single-season record at Minnesota for receiving yards and touchdowns accumulated by a tight end with 569 yards and eight touchdowns. He also shared the honor of Outstanding Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2012, and was named to the Athlon’s Freshman All-America third team that same year.
Williams helped his cause by having a great combine. He was the top performer for his position in four categories: A 4.78 second 40-yard days, 34.5 inch broad jump, 117.0 inch broad jump, and a 4.37 20-yard shuttle. In addition, he completed 17 reps at the bench press and ran a 12.31 second 60-yard shuttle. His major strength lies in his ability to get moving fast to beat linebackers and safeties. He can accelerate to a top speed very rapidly, particularly on crosses and speed outs. He is also a proven winner in red zone, which is exactly what the Ravens are looking for. Williams is also able to do some damage after making a catch, and he shows some real playmaking aptitude with his screens. He also converts well, with 82% of his catches going for either a first down or touchdown. He also shows some great effort on the field and is willing to work hard.
At 6’4” and 249 pounds, Williams is a bit soft at this time for the pro level. He needs to build up some additional weight and muscle in order to withstand the hits that are sure to come in the NFL. He also tends to run upright, and his rounded routes are way too routine and easily read by the defense. It has also been noted that he leans into breaks, which only serves to further tip his hand and results in tighter coverage coming his way. In the end, Williams appears a bit cocky for a sophomore coming out early and having not proven himself at the pro level. Some teams apparently passed on him for this reason. He will need to respond well to coaching and demonstrate respect for the veterans on the Ravens roster, or it could be a rocky start for the tight end. If can do this effectively, however, he certainly has the makings to become a favorite target of Flaco’s and the Ravens offense could get revitalized sooner rather than later.
Graphic via cbslocal