Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room showcases the upper-body mobility and receiving techniques of 2019 NFL Draft prospect Preston Williams of Colorado State.
After a conversation with NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein on the RSP Cast, I pulled up some tape of Colorado State receiver Olabisi Johnson, a player Zierlein liked as an underrated option. Johnson’s teammate Preston Williams caught my eye most often.
A former top prospect who originally attended Tennessee, Williams transferred to Colorado State to finish his career. A wiry receiver with underrated strength and physicality, Williams’s style of play is in that spectrum of options ranging from Justin Hunter and Martavis Bryant to A.J. Green and Randy Moss.
As is the case with defensive ends, wide receivers must develop skills and mobility with their hands, feet, and hips to counter the attacks of their opponents. Williams delivers a countermeasure to begin this episode of the RSP Boiler Room that gets him open for a vertical target.
The following play in the video is a demonstration of a good pull-down technique before he’s sandwiched by defenders.
Although than hands techniques and the hand-eye coordination are notable and important, so is a receiver’s ability to turn his shoulders and torso at the waist. One thing that’s often overlooked about football players is a player’s build and how it affects his movement.
Many track athletes that transition from short distance sprinters (100m and 200m) to football have difficulty staying healthy or performing with fluidity. They’ve built themselves into highly muscled, explosive athletes for short periods and they’re done for the day.
They don’t sprint 25-50 times a day. They don’t drop their weight, make sudden stops, turn their body into and away from contact, and reaccelerate.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my wife was an excellent sprinter, whose best time (10.78 seconds) in the late 1980s in high school was the same as Jackie Joyner Kersee’s IAFF victory in Germany that year. Her most consistent time was Marion Jones’ best high school time (11.2).
Like many athletes in this realm, she’s muscular and a lot of highly muscular athletes can be stiff. She tore her Achilles nearly 10 years ago simply by standing up. While some of this has to do with a genetic condition where her ligaments in her ankles and feet are too tight, it’s also a product of her being an explosive, muscular athlete.
By the way, the doctor who pronounced her recovery from the Achilles as ‘excellent’ also explained her condition and told her that it was probably why she never participated in sports. When she explained her athletic background, which included a 19-foot broad jump and offers from Syracuse and Florida State, he paused for about five seconds and responded, “I have no idea how you managed to do that.”
Flexibility and mobility are often as important as explosiveness — especially at the wide receiver position. All too often, evaluators are bullish on players with great speed but can’t sustain their play due to injuries that come with their body types.
Williams has the speed and quickness of an NFL receiver. He also has the upper-body mobility.
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