College: East Carolina
Position: Tight End
College Stats: 96 catches, 1,040 yards, 13 touchdowns.
There are players that fight through adversity, those that overcome the odds, and then there is Bryce Williams. The tight end started his career as a walk-on at Marshall, redshirting that first season with the program. After his redshirt season, the Winston-Salem native made the decision to attend the same college as many family members and enrolled at East Carolina.
Joining the Pirates meant trying out once again as a walk-on. Williams earned a spot on the roster, but sat his entire redshirt freshman season. Finally seeing action as a sophomore and junior, Williams turned heads as a bit of a fullback/tight end hybrid.
Williams had his best season with the Pirates last fall as a full time tight end. He caught an impressive 58 passes for 588 yards and four touchdowns, playing his best game in the Swamp versus Florida.
At 6-6, Williams understands exactly how to use his body to make catches. He is excellent in the air and can find the ball at its highest point better than most wide receivers. Williams showed up the most versus the vaunted defense of Florida, looking like a man among boys in that game. Williams has great concentration and makes multiple catches with defender draped all over him.
As a result of issues at the quarterback postion last fall, Williams had to learn to find open spots as the play fell apart. He picked up on that quickly, bailing out both ECU quarterbacks on multiple occasions. When catching the ball, Williams is excellent at turning upfield and gaining every additional yard possible.
Williams has been criticized for his inability to get physical in the run game. Part of that is due to the type of offense ran by ECU and the other part is mental. While he will never be the road grating extra offensive lineman at tight end, he must give more in the blocking department.
Being a hybrid player for most of his first two years on the field, Williams is a bit sloppy with his route running. He needs to work on being more precise with his steps and eliminate head movement that defenders can key on.
Where will Williams get drafted?
Williams has to find a team that is looking for a pass catching tight end that can play out wide when needed. Teams that are willing to take a chance with a sixth or seventh round pick will be rewarded with a very nice offensive threat.
My prediction is that he goes to Detroit with the #236 pick in the seventh round.