With him coming back fully into the fold earlier than originally expected off his gambling suspension, the Detroit Lions are trying to keep expectations for wide receiver Jameson Williams in check. It's the expected sentiment.
Wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El lamented the fact he could not even call Williams while he was away from the team. Williams did what he could do on his own to stay ready though.
Randle El of course played nine NFL seasons as a wide receiver, including five total seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2002-2005, 2010). That experience certainly helps his work coaching the position, now in his third year under Dan Campbell.
Antwaan Randle El offers interesting comp for Jameson Williams
As mentioned, Randle El spent his final season as player back with the Steelers in 2010. They had a young second-year receiver with speed to burn, not unlike Williams now except without the injury-truncated rookie season.
Via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, Randle El named that young Steelers' receiver from back in 2010 as a comp for Williams.
"Mike Wallace, when I played, dude that can just run," Randle El said. "If you're the safety and the corner, you can't blink because the faster they get on you, the deeper you've got to get out, and that'll open up lanes for everybody else. If you don't get back, then the ball is out, it's over the top and it's six points. (And) it's not just the deep ball, it's, 'Hey, I can catch a short, shallow route and hit a seam and they gotta catch me."
Wallace had 756 yards and averaged a league-best 19.4 yards per catch as a rookie in 2009. He took the next step in 2010, averaging 21 yards per catch (second in the league) as he tallied 60 catches for 1,257 yards with 10 touchdowns. In 2011, Wallace had 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns as he earned the only Pro Bowl selection of his career.
The Wallace-Williams comp is not a perfect one, if only based on the difference in rookie seasons. But the game-changing speed Williams has had Randle El reminiscing, and hoping for a similar upcoming breakthrough.