Remember when Roy Williams was thought of as one of the next great wide receivers? First the Lions selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2004 draft. Then, thinking that he could develop into a top receiver and be the heir apparent to Terrell Owens in Dallas, the team traded a first, third and sixth round draft pick to acquire him.
However he’s had one truly big season back in 2006, when he had 82 receptions for 1,310 yards and 7 TD. Williams followed that up with 64 receptions for 838 yards and 5 TD in 2007, but after that it was all downhill.
In the three years that followed he has posted the following numbers:
- 2008 – 36 receptions for 430 yards and 2 TD (split time with the Lions & Cowboys)
- 2009 – 38 receptions for 596 yards and 7 TD
- 2010 – 37 receptions for 530 yards and 5 TD
Those are hardly numbers that you would equate with a once promising player, are they? Interestingly, the Lions had hired Mike Martz to be the offensive coordinator prior to the 2006 season and let him go after the 2007 year. Is it a coincidence that Williams’ two most productive seasons came under Martz?
Now, Williams has signed with the Chicago Bears where Martz is currently running the offense. A coincidence again I think not.
The Bears certainly had a gaping need for a big wide receiver, especially with tight end Greg Olsen traded to the Carolina Panthers for a third round pick. Just look at the sizes of their other main wide receivers:
- Devin Hester – 5’11”
- Johnny Knox – 6’0”
- Earl Bennett – 6’0”
Roy Williams is 6’3”, 215 lbs. and will provide a big target for Jay Cutler to throw to. That will come in handy, especially in the red zone, as Cutler failed to hook up with any receiver for more than five touchdowns last year (Knox & Olsen had five apiece). The one thing Williams has proven over the years, even when the receptions have been down, is that he can find the end zone.
There are always going to be concerns about a Chicago wide receiver towards of the end of the season. The weather deteriorates and the team is almost forced to turn to the ground game. I wouldn’t let that deter you, however, especially with Martz at the helm
No one is going to consider Williams a high level option heading into 2011, but reuniting with Martz and the potential to be the go to receiver in the red zone make him an interesting target late in your draft. While he inexplicably has failed to live up to the lofty expectations, there is hope that he rediscovers his viability this season. In the last round or two if you need an extra receiver there’s no reason not to take the flier.
What are your thoughts of Williams? Is he a player you think he could rediscover his promise? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s 2011 rankings: