Kasen Williams Mixes Up Battle at Wide Receiver


If you haven’t heard yet, the Seattle Seahawks signed wide receiver Kasen Williams yesterday. The former Washington Husky may have gone undrafted last month, but he has the talent and potential to become a major star in the NFL.

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Williams looked like a future first round pick back in 2012, but then a freak injury early in 2013 cost him most of the next two seasons. Since he wasn’t able to make a significant impact for the Huskies in two years, no NFL teams were willing to risk a draft pick on him.

Williams is healthy now, and showed off his athleticism at the team’s rookie minicamp. If he is back to his 2012 form, then he is a taller, faster version of Jermaine Kearse with significantly better hands.

The Seahawks were expected to sign Williams immediately after the minicamp in early May, but didn’t sign him until yesterday. The reason is that he wouldn’t have been allowed to practice anyways, so they didn’t want to tie up a roster spot until he could join the team on the field.

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The NFL has a rule that rookies cannot practice until after their school holds graduation. With Washington’s spring quarter still in session, Williams wouldn’t have been at OTAs anyways. He’s done with school now, so it was time to get him signed so he can join the team for minicamp this week.

Williams is a direct threat to the roster spots of Kearse, Kevin Norwood and Chris Matthews. All four are built to play on the split end side of the field. They are also all not of the type that will do well if forced to play in the slot. With that in mind, there simply isn’t room on the roster for all of them.

Kearse has the most experience of the group, but he is also the most expensive and is under team control for only one more year. The other three all cost over $1.5 million less in cap space and have at least three seasons of team control remaining. If Kearse does not establish himself as the team’s starter in training camp, he could find himself playing in a different uniform this season.

The other two both played bit parts last season and barely made an impact. Mathews never even had a catch all season before suddenly looking unstoppable in the Super Bowl. It is almost impossible to know what to expect from either of them until they get on the field.

Of course, all of this assumes that Williams is able to stay healthy. While his injuries (and broken leg and a linsfrac fracture) aren’t typically aren’t typically the kinds of injuries that have long-term issues the way that an ACL injury can, every player and injury is different. Plus, two years is a long time to be away from the game.

Overall though, the Seahawks have reason to be optimistic. If Williams is truly back to where he was before in injury, than he will completely mix up the battle at the wide receiver position.

Next: Seahawks roster battles: the backfield and tight ends

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