One of the more intriguing wide receiver prospects among the underclassmen might be Kasen Williams of the Washington Huskies. On an offense with teammates including Bishop Sankey and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, he makes a terrific third option for the Huskies. While Sankey and Jenkins look exactly like their respective positions ask, Williams has a more unorthodox build for the position, but is an impressive talent that finds ways to win. As a sophomore, Williams caught 77 passes for 878 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Coming into his junior year, Williams may not break out as he basically already did, but he could take the next steps toward becoming a superstar. The reason Williams is unorthodox is despite being a strong kid, he still looks like he is all arms and legs and at times, he can look incredibly awkward while being effective as a player. Williams has a mean streak is an extremely physical player and while his hands are inconsistent, he shows signs that he has a chance to become an elite pass catcher with a tremendous range for catching the ball. He makes his fair share of mistakes, but his passion and heart for the game and a real desire to make plays to win football games shows through with everything he does. Based on what he has done to this point, he is right around the fringes of the top 100 but if he can clean up some issues and tap into the incredible amount of potential he has, Williams could not only become an elite pass catcher in time, but end up being a top 50 pick in a terrific class for the position in this year’s draft, should he opt to declare.
Vitals & Build
Williams is listed at 6’2” 216lbs with an extremely lean build. He is a strong player and coming into his junior year, he has a chance to fill out his frame that much more. Williams has long legs, long arms and big hands that make him look somewhat wiry, but he is a thickly build player with impressive functional strength that shows in his play. He has what appears to be a good amount of room to continue adding weight and he looks like he could easily get into the 225lb range without sacrificing any athletic ability. Williams also possesses good feet, body control, and fluidity but he does not always look it the way his arms and legs fly around at times. He also has the ability to accelerate quickly with good top end speed. In addition to the room on his frame to continue his development, he can also get rid of some wasted movement and play faster and look cleaner.
Route Running & Technique
His stance makes it look like he is suffering from scoliosis the way he arches his back. Williams needs to do a better job of getting in a stance that allows him to fire off the ball more cleanly as even when he is uncovered, he will reset his feet to get off the ball.
Williams is still somewhat raw as a route runner in understanding how to get to a spot, creating space on routes that force him to play on the sideline or coming back to the quarterback. When he is asked to go down the field, he can create space with his speed and has the ability to plant his foot in the ground and make a clean cut. Williams just needs more experience and clean up some of his wasted motion to really take the next step and unlock what he can do in that area of his game. And when it comes to creating space, Williams has to avoid extending his arms against the defender because with his long arms, he will get called every time for offensive pass interference. The news is not all bad in this area, because he can get better at keeping his arms bent to create space against defensive backs without getting called.
Williams has huge hands, long arms and never allows the ball to get into his body, which is good. The results are somewhat inconsistent as he will drop and bobble passes too much. On the other hand, he will make some truly spectacular catches. The fact he has not resorted to letting passes get into his body despite some struggles is a positive sign and if he can get more consistent, he could be poised to become a special pass catcher.
Because of the fact he always uses his hands and goes after the ball the way he does, his catch radius is potentially enormous. Williams is not afraid to go low or high point the football, but again, he just needs to be consistent. His ability to concentrate on the ball going down the field is impressive as well as making plays near the sideline or back of the end zone.
Run After Catch
Because of the way he catches the ball with his hands, Williams is able to make the transition from pass catcher to runner rather quickly, but that requires him to catch the ball cleanly. As he gets more consistent catching the ball, he can make that transition more quickly and with more confidence. Williams is a threat after the catch because he has a combination of quickness, speed, and strength that can make him unpredictable with the ball in his hands. He needs to do a better job of putting the ball away when he has it as he is someone who will lose it on fumbles and will carry it in a way that can enable it to be punched out without a ton of difficulty, which feeds into that unpredictability.
While his technique is still somewhat raw, Williams gets after the opponent as a blocker. He is extremely aggressive and is looking to dominate his opponent rather than simply shielding from the play. Williams is sending a message to his opponent when he blocks him. His technique can be somewhat chaotic and his base can be narrow at times, but the results are usually good. Williams simply wants it more and works harder than the guy he is playing against and that can make up for some technical flaws. If he can get better at his body positioning and working to keep himself between the defender and the ball carrier as well as keeping a narrow base while maintaining that mean streak Williams can be a nasty blocker for the Huskies and going into the NFL.
As long as Williams finds a way to consistently catch the football, he can line up just about anywhere in any offense. He can play on the outside and play on the outside, but has the ability to play in the slot or catch quick passes and make plays with his legs. In addition, his ability to block could make him an asset in the slot as well and have him be able to balance out a formation with an inline tight end on the other side. Williams is a unique athlete in all of the things he can do as well as his sheer will for the game. It just comes down to him being able to play consistently in all phases of the game and taking the next step as a player.
|Sat, Aug. 31||vs. Boise State|
|Sat, Sept. 14||at Illinois|
|Sat, Sept. 21||vs. Idaho State|
|Sat, Sept 28||vs. Arizona|
|Sat, Oct. 5||at Stanford|
|Sat, Oct. 12||vs. Oregon|
|Sat, Oct. 19||at Arizona State|
|Sat, Oct. 26||vs. Cal|
|Sat, Nov. 9||vs. Colorado|
|Fri, Nov. 15||at UCLA|
|Sat, Nov. 23||at Oregon State|
|Fri, Nov. 29||vs. Washington State|
Boise State at home is interesting both sides. Washington is trying to prove they are legitimate and Boise is trying to get back to what they have been. It could be a statement game for Williams. Stanford is looking to get revenge after letting Bishop Sankey run over them last year, so if they can bottle him up, Williams will need to have a big impact for them to win the game. The biggest matchup for Williams is likely to be against Oregon and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, their stud corner. Williams appears to have a decent strength advantage but Olomu’s feet are spectacular, so it could be a great man to man matchup.
Williams’ game is similar to that of Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals. Neither player is exactly how anyone would draw up the position and it does not always look pretty, but their effort and passion combined with a unique skill set allow them to be successful and give their respective teams a ton of options with how they want to use them. Both guys are threats with the ball in their hands and run with power as well as quickness, players who get after it and will block, and just players teams want to have on their team because of the passion they bring. Sanu and Williams both look like they were meant to be running backs but were handed the bodies of receivers.
Kasen Williams has a world of potential both athletically and with his technique. He has terrific strength, agility, and raw speed for the position, but he is still learning the position in a number of areas. Williams is a big time competitor who gives everything he has on the football field and if he can have the light fully go on for him this year, he could go from being a good player like he was last year, to being one of the best at his position in the country and pushing Marqise Lee to be the best in the PAC 12. As it stands right now, Williams looks like a project that can learn while playing in the NFL as a fringe top 100 pick, but if he can become a consistent pass catcher, improve his technique running routes, and secure the ball better as a runner, he could make a huge jump and be in the top 50 neighborhood, should he opt to declare with a chance to be a first round pick next year if he opts to stay for his senior year.