NAME: Marlon Williams
POSITION: Wide Receiver
WEIGHT: 215 pounds
Marlon Williams grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where he attended McGill-Toolen High School. The team won the State Championship in his junior season. Williams and McGill-Toolen made it back there the following year, but came up short. In his senior season at wide receiver, he caught 47 passes for 990 yards. Williams was rated as the number 88 receiver in the country for his class by 247Sports. He was also ranked as the 20th best player from the state of Alabama. Originally committing to USC, he reopened his recruitment later on. Williams chose UCF over other schools like LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Williams appeared in 25 games across his freshman and sophomore seasons of 2017 and 2018. His usage in the Knights’ passing attack was very minimal then. The receiver recorded 35 receptions, 504 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in those two campaigns. Even though there were restraints on offense, Williams was able to shine as a returner. His role significantly increased in 2019. Within the Knights’ offense, the receiver started seven of 13 games played. Williams was second on the team in receptions (51), third on the team in receiving yards (717) and he also had six receiving touchdowns. He shattered those numbers in 2020. In just a mere eight games, Williams hauled in 71 receptions for 1,037 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
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Throw the football anywhere near Marlon Williams, and he is likely to come down with it. He rarely drops passes, especially in traffic. Williams makes some of the more difficult catches look simple. For example, contested catches are more 75-25 in favor of him, rather than 50-50. He displays tremendous catch comfort. The way he plucks the ball out of the air is natural and Williams does not allow the ball to hit off of his body. Most of all, Williams is laser focused when the ball is in the air. Multiple defenders around him rarely creates panic or badly timed snatches with his hands.
Williams’ spatial awareness in the open field is quickly evident. He does not have the blazing speed of some of the more faster receivers. However, Williams picks his angles and where he attacks upfield intelligently. He is not afraid to dance in the open field. That does not become his top priority, though. Williams’ understanding of where the defenders are pursuing from, along with his keen ability to know where he is on the field, is remarkable. He uses the sidelines well and is always aware of where the line to gain is located. Furthermore, Williams tracks the football well and maneuvers fairly crisply while it is in the air. The contortion he has in his body is not commonplace.
Big Play Ability
Despite minimal long speed, Williams can create big plays with his physicality and toughness. He is not afraid to battle for every yard or inch that he can get. By lowing his shoulder and continuing to fall forward, the receiver is able to break a fair amount of tackles. Consequently, he has an amazing amount of contact balance and agility for when he runs through tackles. Williams averaged 14.4 yards per reception while at UCF. Throw in seven yards coming after the catch, and it easy to see why he is a vertical threat down the field.
Limited Route Tree/Release Package
Williams was limited to playing as a big slot at UCF. Teams may have legit questions about him playing outside. Possibly, he could develop and become a rather steady producer out wide. Right now, Williams has been subjected to running slants, flat routes, comebacks, screens or in-breaking routes. The Knights were more comfortable with having their receivers attack space and make more room after the catch. His release package is not horrible, in terms of footwork. Nevertheless, Williams did not get tested much in press coverage from the slot. How will he respond to more of that at the NFL level?
We touched on it a little bit already. Williams does not possess the burst to outrun most defensive backs. This is why his physicality and toughness stands out. Once again, it is generally a work in progress to how certain receivers respond to the speed of the NFL game. On top of the lack of overall speed, Williams can become a bit stiff when running his routes. This can takeaway his flexibility. Additionally, plays can become elongated, because of Williams not always being the most fluid out of his breaks.
When Williams does gain separation, it is usually with a fairly large gap. There is inconsistencies with this, however. For one, Williams does not always produce the most under control routes. His momentum can carry up the field. Or, he tends to round his routes at the top. The receiver does not have many fakes or counters against defensive backs in his arsenal. Williams also played in an up-tempo offense, that relied on gambles to pay off in short areas. Due to his size and physical nature, Williams can hide some of his issues with creating separation.
Marlon Williams is the exact type of receiver that the Kansas City Chiefs need to add to the offense. That is a player that can produce solid production and win as a vertical threat. You have some physicality at receiver with Tyreek Hill. But, that is not the number one thing that he relies on. He uses it so naturally and it is almost like second nature to him. To boot, the offense he played on in college could translate well to Kansas City’s playbook. Running up-tempo, in-breaking routes and being counted on as a possession type of receiver could all fit Williams well while with the Chiefs.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout the rest of the spring. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.