It’s only February, but the 2023 breakout bandwagon for Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams is filling up fast.
Coming back from a torn ACL in the January 2022 national title game playing for Alabama, the Detroit Lions were very cautious with wide receiver Jameson Williams as a rookie. Even if that was the right mode, hopes that things would be more fruitful went all the way up to offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.
Williams did not play more than 18 snaps in any of his six games as a rookie, with one catch on nine targets and one rushing attempt. Albeit that catch went for a 41-yard touchdown, and that run was a 40-yarder. So we got a tease of his potential when the restrictions come off and he’s fully ingrained in the Lions’ offense.
In a broad sense, Williams is too easy to name as a breakout candidate for next season. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t or won’t be on said lists, especially as fantasy football draft season gets closer.
Within the last week, ESPN fantasy analyst and injury expert Stephania Bell had Williams as her 2023 breakout candidate. But the bandwagon is already growing.
Jameson Williams put among top second-year breakout candidates for 2023
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus has listed five 2023 second-year breakout candidates for each side of the ball. On offense, the wide receiver breakout candidate is of course Williams.
"The Lions treaded Williams’ rookie year almost like a redshirt season. Injured with Alabama in the national championship game, Williams was drafted 12th overall but didn’t make it back onto the field until Week 13, and then the team kept him on a strict pitch count in terms of workload. He didn’t clear 20 snaps in a single game and never saw more than three plays designed to get him the football. Even on that limited workload, you could see the explosive speed he brings to the table and how defenses were forced to adjust. Williams has too much ability not to be a major factor next season in a full-time role."
In his lone season at Alabama, where he transferred to get a better opportunity to play, Williams had 1,572 yards (19.9 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns.
Torn ACLs aren’t the career-dampening thing they once could be, so the prospect of a full healthy offseason to build chemistry with Jared Goff has Williams’ arrow pointing way up. With him at full strength, imagine what the Lions’ offense could do next season.
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