After the Detroit Lions selected Jameson Williams in the draft, most were excited about the big plays he could bring to the mix, but many likely didn’t know about him as a player.
Sure, he might be talented, but how much does Williams actually love the game? If his coach is to be believed, the answer to that question could be a lot. Already, Williams is drawing praise from his head coach, even as he is being eased along due to injury.
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Speaking during rookie minicamp playing out in Allen Park on Saturday, May 14, Dan Campbell was asked about Williams and where he is at. While it’s clear the team is still taking a patient approach, it’s also clear the coach appreciates what Williams brings in terms of passion, preparedness and attention to detail. As Chris Burke of The Athletic showed, Campbell isn’t afraid to love on Williams in the press already.
“Dan Campbell says Jameson Williams has asked about getting some work on the Jugs machine, but the Lions just have him watching right now. ‘He’s engaged. You put him out on the grass and that’s his domain. He’s asking questions, he’s got the script, he’s on it’,” Campbell said via Burke’s tweet.
Williams being involved like this is huge, even if he has not been turned loose yet. Health will prevent that at least a while longer, but it’s great to hear Williams is being a sponge and staying engaged. To hear Campbell praise him like that is significant.
Everyone knows how Campbell loves football, so for him to gush about Williams this early is telling. It says the Lions may have a player who is the total package for their future.
Williams’ Work Ethic Shining Through for Lions
A player that is hurt, especially a rookie, might be tempted to go through the motions at this stage or simply bide his time until a return. Not Williams, who is already getting involved in a big way even as he is on the sidelines.
To make an impact as a transfer, that’s just what a player has to do, and what Williams did. He came to the Crimson Tide after 266 yards and 3 touchdowns and set the SEC on fire in 2021. Williams racked up 1,572 yards and 15 scores en route to being one of the top players in college football. An ACL injury in the National Title game hurt Williams’ chances of being a top-five pick, but there would have been a chance if not for that. The tape shows a speedy player who has afterburners:
Williams may take some time to show his stuff, but he is already showing the Lions why he is an ace at the mental side of the game, which can be huge for on-field success.
Lions Shouldn’t Rush Williams Back From Injury
Williams himself may be chomping at the bit to return, but the Lions have incentive to bring him along at a slower pace. The team is more concerned about what Williams does in 2023 and beyond than his rookie season, thus the pressure should not be on him to come back quickly. Anything before the first five weeks of the season might be too early in order to keep Williams on the right path for his present and future and not risk further injury.
By trading up for Williams, the Lions sent the message that he can be the centerpiece of their offense, which is a big statement for any player, much less one coming off of injury. To protect their investment, the Lions have to find a way to keep Williams as healthy as possible early on in his career so he can avoid any bust or injury-prone labels.
So far, the team is doing that, but Williams is staying involved in a big way. Already, it’s something his coach loves.