Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 24, WR Kasen Williams
Each day until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is talking with an NFL analyst and counting down the 25 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. “Two-a-days” continued Friday with ESPN’s Ryan Clark as the guest and Kasen Williams as the 24th-most intriguing Seahawk. The segment on Williams is embedded above. My thoughts are below.
• Position: WR
• Height/Weight: 6-1, 219
• Experience: Second season
• Acquired: Signed as undrafted free agent, 2015
Overview: Williams starred at Skyline High School in Sammamish and then the University of Washington, where a devastating injury derailed his college career and ultimately helped keep him home. He likely would have been drafted had he not suffered a broken leg and a Lisfranc foot injury in 2013 that ended his junior season and affected him in 2014, when he caught only 20 passes in nine games. What was reported to be a failed physical scuttled the deal he signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent, opening the door for his return to Seattle. Williams didn’t make the team out of training camp, but he made a strong enough impression to stick around on the practice squad and then earn a late-season promotion to the active roster. Now he’s battling for one of the final spots among a crowded group of wide receivers. One thing Williams has going for him is that he’s another year removed from his injury, which could help him regain some of the explosiveness that made him a high-school state champion in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said it could help Williams mentally as well. “It was a nasty injury that he had,” Bevell noted earlier this month. “I think the longer that you go and you’re able to have success, make good plays in practice, your mentality is able to kind of push that aside and say, ‘OK, I’m fully back, I know where I’m at and I can do anything out here.’ I think he’s definitely at that point and he’s doing a nice job out here.”
The intrigue: It’s with his size, something the Seahawks’ current regime has always looked for at that position. The results have been mixed. Mike Williams (one good season) and Chris Matthews (one great game) showed flashes then disappeared. Sidney Rice signed a big deal and couldn’t stay healthy. Draft picks Kris Durham, Chris Harper and Kevin Norwood never panned out. Jermaine Kearse is the closest thing Seattle has had to a big-bodied receiver who has produced consistently. If he makes the team, Williams could be the biggest receiver on Seattle’s roster.
2016 outlook: Doug Baldwin, Kearse and Tyler Lockett are locks to the team. As long as he’s healthy, Paul Richardson should as well. That means the seven other receivers on Seattle’s roster are competing for what could be one or two spots, depending on how many the Seahawks keep at that position entering the season. Williams will be a leading candidate for one of those final spots along with Kevin Smith and seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler. It could come down to special teams. Receivers on the back end of the depth chart don’t tend to make significant contributions on offense, so they usually have to play special teams in order to justify a roster spot. Williams didn’t do much of that at UW, but he may to prove himself on the coverage and return units in order to make the team. If he doesn’t, he could have to wait his turn again on the practice squad.