2022 NFL Mock Draft: Is Alabama WR Jameson Williams a Patriots fit?

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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Is this star Alabama WR a good fit for Pats? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Can the New England Patriots add another impact player in the 2022 NFL Draft?

The Patriots have plenty of roster needs to address after the Buffalo Bills routed them 47-17 in the AFC Wild Card Round. But they also drafted some talented players last spring -- namely quarterback Mac Jones, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive tackle Christian Barmore -- and could look to replicate that success in this year's draft with the No. 21 overall pick.

Which position might New England target, you ask? The mock drafts have already begun in earnest, and ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the Patriots giving Jones another weapon from his alma mater in Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.

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Kiper points out the Patriots' "lack of playmakers in the passing game" and notes Williams' potential as a "deep threat" for Jones.

"Williams, an Ohio State transfer with blazing speed, had a fantastic season for the Crimson Tide, catching 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns," Kiper wrote. "He would likely be in the top-10 range if he didn't tear his ACL in the national title game, which means he might not be ready for training camp. Still, I don't think he's going to fall too far, because he's a true No. 1 wideout when he's healthy. This is good value for New England."

Williams was one of the best playmakers in college football last season; he was named SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year as a kick returner and gunner on the punt team in addition to his prowess as a wide receiver. He'd certainly give the Patriots a speed dimension they didn't have in 2021.

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But as our Phil Perry points out, Williams' injury is no small matter. Here's Perry's take on Williams' potential fit with New England:

Jameson Williams would be a fantastic long-term fit for the Patriots. He looks like an 'X' in their system as someone who can win outside the numbers and force defenses to respect the vertical passing game. That's the role Nelson Agholor filled with in 2021, catching 37 passes for 12.8 yards per reception and three touchdowns.

Williams -- who hasn't played with Mac Jones because he transferred from Ohio Stats before last season -- is fast, physical, and he returned kicks and played gunner on the punt team for Nick Saban. Sound like a Patriot to you?
 
The only issue with Williams is that he just tore his ACL, which could be something that forces him to miss time deep into his rookie season. For a team that has a variety of holes to address on both sides of the ball before the 2022 season begins, would it be wise to use a first-round selection on someone who may not become a staple of the offense until 2023?

If Williams is available at No. 21 overall, whether or not Bill Belichick takes him could come down to how patient he's willing to be before he sees a return on that investment. Patriots first-rounders typically play (and play a lot) as rookies.

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