The Rumor Mill is chock full of news this week with free agency less than a day away. Where will…
Williamson: The Answer or Another Headache?
Jacksonville has been searching for help at the wide receiver spot since 2004. They've drafted two wide receivers in three of the last four drafts starting in '04 when they made 20-year-old Reggie Williams from Washington their first choice, ninth overall, and later added Ernest Wilford in the fourth round.
Neither receiver has produced the kind of numbers that the team has been looking for. Wilford had 14 starts last season and led the team in receptions but with only 45 catches, less than an average of three per game. Williams broke a team record for touchdown catches with 10, but finished with just 38 total grabs in 15 games, also less than three receptions a game.
Taking Matt Jones with the No. 1 pick and Chad Owens in the sixth round a year later has produced very little results. Last year's twosome of Mike Walker (third round) and John Broussard (seventh) also failed miserably when Walker was placed on injured reserve before the season started and Broussard finished with four catches in eight games. Even bringing in free agent Dennis Northcutt only resulted in 44 grabs (another sub-3 catch-per-game player) for 601 yards and only 4 scores.
So now the Jaguars will look for Williamson to be the solution to a position that has been in flux since Jimmy Smith's surprise retirement announcement prior to the 2006 season. Other than Smith, the Jaguars haven't had a player with more than 52 catches in a season since Keenan McCardell grabbed 93 passes in the 2001 season.
Williamson's numbers in Minnesota don't indicate that he'll resolve the team's inadequacies at the receiver spot. He had 79 catches for 1,067 yards but only three scores in his three years with the Vikings. He played for three different receivers coaches during his stay in Minneapolis in addition to two head coaches.
His biggest asset is his speed, something the Jaguars did not have last year after their fastest receiver, Walker, was placed on injured reserve. But Williamson's problem is his inability to hang on to the ball. Williamson struggles to adjust to deep balls, is weak at catching the ball away from his body on anything deeper than a seven-yard slant, was rarely sent across the middle in Minnesota, and has a tendency to drop accurate passes with no defender within five yards of him.
A change of scenery could prove beneficial to both Williamson and the Jaguars. But he's not likely to be the lone answer to the problem. The Jaguars will look hard in free agency for a proven veteran and if that fails, they could make it four times in the last five years where they grabbed two receivers in the draft.
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