1/12/22, 5:37 PM
Brutal luck for Jameson Williams. The top wide receiver prospect in the upcoming draft tore his ACL playing in the College Football Championship Game for Alabama.
It’s reasonable to be skeptical of Williams’s doctors publicly stating that he’s going to get back to his sub-4.3 speed. Are they being honest or mostly having their patient’s back?
In this case, probably both.
Wide receivers after ACL tears tend to lose a step in the initial return, but gain it back over the course of their first 12-18 months after surgery.
We saw Odell Beckham Jr this year put up strong numbers about a year after his ACL injury (timing confounded by the trade to the Rams dynamite offense). His Rams teammate and now record-holder Cooper Kupp is 3 years removed from his surgery and clearly thriving as a star wide receiver.
The take-home message is that young players in their prime tend to recover, and without much lasting deficit from ACL surgery. The injury is associated with shorter careers and fewer total games played over the course of NFL careers, but that effect is also less drastic in 1st round draft picks like Williams projects to be.
So when will we see Jameson Williams back?
Probably not in time for the start of the season. Early return timetables are in the 8-9 month range, but given his young age and large draft capital investment it’ll take to acquire him, it would be a shocker to see anyone try to rush Jameson Williams back to the field.
Instead, we’d expect this to be closer to the average - 10 months - and perhaps longer. That pushes Williams into November - 2/3 of the way through the NFL season - before making his debut.
Dynasty and keeper league fantasy football owners should have Jameson Williams at the top of their late round selection list as a value steal who could definitely turn into a Pro Bowl receiver. Re-draft teams with deep rosters and/or an IR spot could definitely benefit from having him too, but we would avoid using a limited roster spot on a player likely to miss the majority of the coming year.
Now the interesting question becomes what will happen to Williams’s draft stock going forward. Hopefully this bad luck doesn’t cost him too much $ and he recovers without a hitch.
Photo Credit: Zach Bolinger, Icon Sportswire