In a draft that is almost completing devoid of tight end talent, the red shirt sophomore Minnesota’s Maxx Williams stands head and shoulders above the rest of his class (Miami’s Clive Walford is good, not great). This is especially worrisome for dynasty fantasy football leagues that feature tight end premium scoring. I re-watched three of his 2014 games against Iowa, Michigan, and his bowl game versus Missouri to get a grasp of what strengths and weaknesses he possesses while making his trek into the NFL.
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota 6′ 5″ 249 lbs.
Cons: Most tight ends get asked to block at the next level. While Williams fires out low, keeps his feet, and can seal off running lanes; the tight end is just an average blocker with less than ideal brute strength. This may limit a team that wants to use him as a traditional tight end. Like most men his size, the playmaker runs a bit too high and lacks some fluidity. Williams needs to do a better job picking up his feet, so he can change directions more easily. There were a few times the tight end let the ball into his body while making the catch; that needs to be corrected, because he can pluck the pigskin out of the air just as easily.
Pros: Williams can line up anywhere for the offense: fullback, wingback, slot, out wide, or as a traditional tight end. He gets sent in motion a lot to dictate coverage or can lie in the weeds and sneak out the backdoor when the play seemingly is going the other way. The tight end acts more like a movable joker doing well against linebackers in pass coverage. Safeties give him more difficulty with their athleticism. Williams has good balance along with an excellent catch radius that lets him adjust to poorly thrown passes. His concentration is great, as he uses the sidelines to his benefit and finds a way to drag his feet to make acrobatic receptions.
He is physical enough to beat the jam on the line of scrimmage and fights for the ball with tight coverage by boxing out the defender. After getting open in the middle of the field, the tight end fully extends to make the reception, secures the ball, and keeps his legs churning for extra yardage. Williams uses spin moves, hurdles, and stiff-arms to create separation from defenders making him difficult to tackle. The tight end finds his second gear in open spaces and is hard to bring down when he is close to the end zone. His soft hands, including an ability to make one-handed grabs, make him a huge red zone threat
Overall thoughts: Williams has a lot of Jeremy Shockey traits: big play ability, attitude, catch radius, and overall athleticism. He needs to be a smoother route runner, but can be a featured top-notch offensive weapon. This tight end should be in the NFL’s and your dynasty rookie drafts late first to early second round.
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