We are back with another article on a ghost from past NFL Drafts. This time we are not covering a player from Tennessee.
Today we are going to take a look at the career of wide receiver Reggie Williams. Williams played his college ball for the Washington Huskies from 2001-2003. In the last two seasons of his career, he caught well over 1,000 yards, had at least 80 receptions, and was considered a top NFL prospect. He had ideal size for an NFL receiver at at 6’4” and 210 pounds. Williams was pretty much considered as a “can’t miss” talent who would be a massive NFL receiver for years to come.
In the 2004 NFL Draft, he was drafted ninth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the third receiver off the board behind legendary NFL receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams. His rookie season in the NFL was a struggle, way short of living up to the hype that surrounded him going into the draft. 2005 wasn’t much better but it was definitely an improvement over his rookie numbers. Unfortunately, a strong start was cut short due to concussion issues for the rest of the year.
In 2006, he started off the season red hot and was considered one of the top receivers in the NFL. This time, injury issues to teammate Byron Leftwich would be what killed his season. David Garrard stepped in as the starter at the quarterback position and then Williams began to go into a slump again. In 2007 Williams had the best year of his career with 38 catches, 629 yards receiving, and 10 touchdowns on the year. Not fantastic numbers, but a definite improvement and a bright spot in his career. 2008 was an unmemorable year and would be his last with Jacksonville.
2009 was not a good year for Williams. Early in the year he was arrested and charged with a DWI and possession of marijuana. These charges would later be dismissed. A few months later in 2009, he was arrested on felony drug charges after fighting with Houston police outside a nightclub. Police tasered him and found what seemed to be a bag of cocaine in his back pocket. This led him to take a year off of football and he was put on two years of probation.
Williams came back to football in 2010 and signed with the Seattle Seahawks in April before being released two months later. After this, it was really downhill for Williams. He was in the UFL for a few months, was released, and then signed with the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL, where he would soon be released as well.
There’s not much on the internet about what happened to Reggie Williams and what he struggled with the most in his career. There are a lot of questions surrounding his career. Such a promising talent, has great play in college, great physical traits, and literally no red flags. Williams became one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL Draft and by far the biggest bust from 2004. Was it coaching? It’s definitely possible. There were a lot of questions surrounding the Jaguars and their usage of Williams. They were not playing to his strengths. In 2006 and 2007 it seems as if they began by throwing the ball to him and letting him go get it and run with it. Letting him make the plays with the ball in his hands was his strong suit because his size was a mismatch for corners.
Personally, I feel the blame is split between Reggie and the Jaguars. The Jaguars definitely could have done a better job of coaching him and playing to his strengths. However, sometimes in the NFL, you have to adapt and work with what you are being handed. With a guy of Reggie’s size and talent, he should have been able to adjust to any situation in the NFL and thrive.
Currently, Reggie is living the dad’s life. He is married, has three kids, and spends his time loving his family. While he says he does miss being in the NFL, he does enjoy spending time and helping coach for his kids’ sports. At least through all of this, he is no longer dealing with the law and is enjoying being a family man. It’s unfortunate for both Reggie and the Jaguars that his career never really panned out.
Follow Austin on Twitter @ArmchairAustin.