Maxx Williams: Browns Draft Profile
By Jesse Runner
The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns 2015 NFL Draft seems ready to be a very interesting one for the team. With 10 picks, including two in the first round, the Browns are ready to make noise again for the second year in a row.
Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud. Last year the Browns draft included a big trade down and the drafting of Johnny Manziel. While the first round hasn’t panned out yet, the rest of the draft seems to be great. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.
After free agency we wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns tried to trade their picks to move up, to get another veteran or went with best player available instead of drafting for need. Farmer did this last year when he drafted Joel Bitonio, Terrance West, Christian Kirksey and others instead of drafting a wide receiver. We could see that again.
In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for the NFL Draft.
6’4”, 249 pounds
University of Minnesota
2014 – 12 games, 36 receptions for 569 yards, 8 touchdowns
2015 NFL Draft Range
Low 1st to high 2nd – A member of the All-Big 10 first team in 2014, Williams set the Minnesota record for the most touchdowns by a tight end in a season with 8 in 2014. As a sophomore, Williams led his team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns on his way to being named Big-10 tight end of the year and establishing himself as one of the most promising tight end prospects in the country.
"“Primarily used as move tight end. Straight-line wheels to beat linebackers and safeties. Accelerates to top speed quickly on crossers and speed outs. Speed to chew up cushion and open a throwing window over the top. Will threaten seam and dominated defenders on wheel routes. Red-zone winner. Can do damage after the catch and shows playmaking aptitude with tight end screens. Extends and goes all out for the catch. Got a foot inbounds on three circus catches. Eighty-two percent of his catches were for either a first down or touchdown. Not easily redirected out of release. Honest effort to stay engaged when base blocking.” –NFL.com“Maxx Williams is a very good tight end prospect who projects as a starting NFL player for a very long time. While I don’t think he’ll emerge into one of the elite pass catchers at the position, I do think he’ll be an extremely valued and respected pro because of his ability to be an asset in every aspect of an offense’s gameplan. He’ll block well, he’ll catch well, and he’ll add the occasional big play from time to time. I like the fact that he’s still a young and developing player, as he has not yet hit his ceiling. He reminds me of a better run blocking version of Greg Olsen, who is now enjoying some of his best years as a pro with the Carolina Panthers. Williams could have a very similar impact in the NFL.”- Draftbreakdown.com"
Of course, Williams is not perfect.
According to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, Williams lacks “the explosive trait” off the line of scrimmage, and he “needs a few steps to get going.” Brugler then goes on to say that Williams is “an average route-runner at best” with “predictable moves.
Not to mention that NFL.com feels Williams “wont generate push as an in-line blocker and has limited feel and instincts as a blocker.” Luckily, Williams has a big frame and extreme athleticism. While he may not be the most polished prospect, he has a world of potential.
Williams also raised questions of his character at the NFL Scouting Combine. According to Rotoworld.com, an NFC regional scout said, “That Minnesota tight end came across as all about himself from what people in our room said. They were a little turned off by him.” While character concerns are obviously a problem, overconfidence is not always a bad thing.
Browns Player Selection Could Impact
N/A – The Browns signed tight end Rob Housler to a one-year deal after Jordan Cameron decided to take his talents to south beach. The addition of Williams would more-than-likely slide Housler, Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray all down a spot in the depth chart. However, all will probably make the 53-man roster, as Williams and Housler aren’t particularly good blockers.
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How Selection Could Be Impacted By Free Agency
N/A – The Browns signed Housler to a one-year deal, showing they aren’t 100% sold on the 27-year-old. However, it would be hard to imagine the Browns signing another tight end this late into free agency. It’s clear that Cleveland needs a dynamic, pass catching tight end to make the quarterback’s job easier. Ray Farmer will more-than-likely fill this need by way of the draft, possibly with one of the Browns first four picks.
High-Medium – With Housler – a player who only caught 9 passes last season – being the best pass-catching tight end on the roster, the Browns would be smart to upgrade the position before the start of the season. The selection of Williams would give Cleveland a big, athletic tight end to lean on for years to come.
Do you think the Browns should draft Maxx Williams? Let us know in the comment section!