In each of the 10 weekdays leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify one player who projects as a solid fit for the Patriots at various points of the draft. Read all of the profiles.
Player: Damian Williams
School: Southern California
Position: Wide receiver
Listed height/weight: 6-foot-0 5/8, 197 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: No. 6 at position (scouting report)
Draft projection: Second round
Why he’s on our list: The Patriots must consider the future at receiver, with Randy Moss entering the last year of his contract, and Williams would represent a longer-term option at the position. He would also add value as a punt returner.
Recommended link: David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times recapped how Williams went from Arkansas to Southern California, where he thrived.
Key stat: Totaled 1,010 receiving yards last season, while adding two punt returns for touchdowns.
Workout stat: Had 19 repetitions on the bench press at the combine, one shy of the top mark for receivers.
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: “Williams (6-0, 197 pounds) has average size and top-end speed for an NFL receiver prospect. In fact, there is some internal debate within Scouts Inc. as to whether or not his best fit is in the slot. I think he fits well on the outside where the Patriots need help opposite Randy Moss despite his lack of elite natural ability and here’s why: For starters, he’s got the initial quickness and competitive nature to improve his ability to beat press coverage. Secondly, his upper body strength and effort make him a better blocker than his size suggests. Thirdly and most importantly, he is a polished route runner that is fluid changing directions, accelerates out of breaks and reads the coverage well. Williams will never be an elite No. 1 who will dictate coverage but he can separate from most No. 2 corners when he gets single coverage and locate a seam when he gets zone coverage. He’s also an effective open field runner that can produce after the catch and compete for a punt return man job.”