Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said on Wednesday he still expects first-round rookie receiver Jameson Williams to play this season, even though an ACL tear has sidelined the former Alabama star since he was taken with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
“We’re pretty optimistic he’s going to play this year,” Campbell said.
Williams suffered his injury in the college National Championship game in January, and the Lions have taken his rehab slow and steady to protect their investment. We’ve seen updates from Williams’ Instagram account indicating that he’s now running routes and cutting, and indeed Campbell believes he’s made significant progress in the last month.
“We really felt like he’s turned a corner over the past month,” Campbell said. “We feel like he’s really coming on.”
The Lions are currently dealing with numerous injured at the receiver position. Campbell revealed on Wednesday that DJ Chark is still dealing with an injury to the same ankle he broke last year and will not practice to start the week. Quintez Cephus is on injured reserve, and Amon-Ra St. Brown playing through an ankle injury of his own. Detroit is ailing at what appeared to be a position of strength at the beginning of the year, but that is not going to change the team’s plan with Williams.
“The injuries (to other WRs) are not going to have any bearing on when he plays,” Campbell said. “We’re not going to let that affect us. When he’s ready, then we’ll get him up and ready to go, but we don’t want to press that just because we have a number of injuries in the receiver room.”
The good news is that it doesn’t appear anything has changed with how they expected Williams to proceed. The bad news is that it still sounds like it may be some time before we see JaMo make his NFL debut.