PRO 2024 Rookie Spotlight: Isaiah Williams, WR Illinois

Rookie Spotlight: Isaiah Williams, Illinois

Height: 5-9
Weight: 184
Hands: 9″
Arm: 30 1/4″
2024 Age: 23 (1/29/01)
40-yard dash: 4.46 (projected)

NFL Play-Style Comparison: Jayden Reed
Draft Grade: Early 3rd-Round
Breakout Age: 20 (RS Sophomore)

Offensive Market Share Metrics (Final Season)

Receptions: 31%
Receiving Yards: 33%
Receiving TDs: 22%

High School: Trinity Catholic (Saint Louis, Missouri)
As a high school prospect: Class of 2019; 4-star
College Attended: Illinois


– two-time all-big ten receiver, three-time academic all-big ten

– ability to bend the edge with ease after catch, and out-angle defenders

– used expansively in the running game

– great patience, and acceleration with the ball in his hands

– Led the big-ten in Yards After Catch (553) & Missed Tackles Forced (24)

– two-time team captain



– more concentration drops than you would like to see (16 in three seasons)

– 81% of routes came in the slot

– route tree leaves you wanting more downfield

– separates throughout routes, but struggles at the catch point in contested situations


Scouting Notes:
As a four-star dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school, Williams was invited to the 2018 Elite 11 finals after totaling nearly 1,900 passing yards and 29 touchdowns to go along with 1,132 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Broke the Illinois quarterback rushing record his redshirt freshman season, finishing with 389 yards on 63 attempts while playing in 5 games. During his 3rd season at Illinois and first as a wide receiver, Williams led the Illini in receiving with 47 receptions and 525 yards, trailing just Brock Bowers (56) and Xavier Worthy (62) for most receptions among freshmen in all of the Power-5. Williams has the gifts to be a dynamic playmaker on day one, however, his downfield routes leave you wanting more creativity and refinement. Early in his career, expect his usage to stay around the line of scrimmage and expand to downfield shots, similar to the advancements seen at Illinois.

Fantasy Outlook:

Dynamic slot receiver with patience in the run game to score early and often for your fantasy team. If Williams is drafted on day 2 of the NFL draft, he should be one of your most-owned players in dynasty leagues given the discounted price you’ll likely get based on early ADP trends. His downfield route running isn’t polished, but his utilization around the line of scrimmage and with the ball in his hands is enough to use your fantasy draft assets on. Modeling like Jayden Reed from Michigan State, there is a real chance that Isaiah Williams will be the odds-on favorite to lead the 2024 wide receivers in rushing yards during their rookie campaigns. Struggling with concentration drops and tenacity on routes downfield, I don’t see an exploitable ceiling in year 1 like we saw from Shrine Bowler Zay Flowers in Baltimore, but that is a type of role Williams could grow into in year 2.

Cody Carpentier

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