2. Jameson Williams
Jameson Williams may be the most mocked player going to the Saints in 2022, but don’t let his popularity fool you. Williams has just as much potential to fail as he does to succeed, and we’d personally rather not bet on a prospect recovering from injury.
The Alabama product was on the fast track to becoming the No. 1 wide receiver in this year’s draft class until he tore his ACL during the national title game in January. The fact that Williams still ranks so high on the board after his injury speaks volumes to his talent and upside, and he almost certainly will be selected in the first round.
Compared to the likes of DeVonta Smith and Tyreek Hill, Williams oozes franchise star power and could in theory form a supernova pairing with Michael Thomas — maybe they can bond over their devastating injuries, too.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper recently projected the Saints to take Williams with the 19th overall pick, claiming a player of Williams’ caliber would be “worth it.” A record-breaking track star in high school, Williams burst onto the scene in Alabama with 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021. His success comes with an important caveat, though: he must stay healthy.
"He could be a superstar once he’s healthy; he has explosive speed and was uncoverable for the Crimson Tide last season. ACL injuries aren’t even close to career-ending anymore, so I don’t see this as a risky pick. Williams is worth it."
We simply don’t agree with Kiper’s take since the mental battle of recovering from injury is just as important as the physical one. Taking any recently injured prospect, regardless of how talented he is, carries monumental risk, and for us the risk outweighs the reward.
Williams will likely sit out for the first four or five weeks of the season, and his Year 1 production is impossible to predict. NOLA has just as promising options in Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson, two projected first-round selections who can start training with Thomas and the rest of the Saints’ WR room immediately.