The New England Patriots‘ roster isn’t set. What’s more important, they may not be done adding weapons in the passing game.
The Patriots had former UCF star and undrafted free agent Marlon Williams in for a workout this week, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Scouting Report on Williams is Promising
There is a consistent theme with Williams on his scouting report, and it is strength.
Williams is not the fastest receiver in the NFL Draft this year, but he could be one of the strongest. His biggest strength is his ability to break tackles and his NFL-like frame should help the Texans out big time. Williams can take a five-yard catch in the slot and turn it into a 20-yard gain with his ability to fend off linebackers and defensive backs.
Williams’ speed metrics are likely what kept him undrafted, especially when you consider the normally generous Pro Day numbers didn’t jump off the page.
Per Zach Cox of NESN:
“At his pro day in April, Williams ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash with a 4.57-second short shuttle, 33 1/2-inch vertical jump and 119-inch broad jump.”
We’ve seen players such as Anquan Boldin, whom Williams is reminiscent of, succeed in the NFL with a similar frame, style and without blazing speed. Boldin measured a shade under 6’1″, weighed 216 pounds and ran the 40 at just 4.73. Yet he still managed a borderline Hall-of-Fame career. Williams is a little smaller at 5’11” 206 pounds, but he’s also quicker, at least according to the clocked times.
If Williams is going to pattern his game after anyone, he should take a look at Boldin and former Pittsburgh Steelers great Hines Ward. They have similar body types, and in addition to be being solid possession receivers, they were excellent blockers in the running game.
Marino of Draft Network added:
Serving as a big slot in the Knights offense, Williams is a physical receiver that has terrific hands, ball skills, and the ability to produce after the catch. He’s an elite competitor that battles for every inch with the ball in his hands and competes through contact, routinely coming down with catches in traffic. For Williams to produce at the next level, developing and expanding his route tree will be important, especially when comparing what he will be asked to do in the NFL to what was on his plate in college. Williams may not demand the volume of targets in the NFL that he had in 2020 at UCF, but for a team looking for size and vertical skills down the field—and a player who can also create space for himself after the catch—Williams is a perfect candidate for such a role.
Williams had a breakout season in 2020 when he registered 71 receptions, 1,039 receiving yards and 10 TDs. He’s hoping to see that production spill over into his rookie season.
Williams Looks to Have a Special Toughness on Tape
While he won’t win many foot races with defensive backs, Williams is powerful and ferocious–especially after the catch.
Take a look at this highlight reel from 2020:
Making the Patriots’ squad might be a long shot, but if he can prove he can win at the line of scrimmage, make tough catches and perhaps most importantly, established himself as an elite blocker in the run game, Williams might surprise and earn a spot on the roster.
If not the 53-man roster, Williams seems like a solid candidate for the practice squad.