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NFL Draft Prospect Preview- Mario Williams

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics.

At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.

Today’s Spotlight - USC, Wide receiver, Mario Williams

Name- Mario Williams

Pos- Wide Receiver

Team- USC

HT/WT- 5’9” 180 lbs.

Born- 1/21/2003

Home – Plant City, Florida

Mario Williams was regarded as the country’s No. 1 wide receiver by ESPN as a 2020 senior at Plant High in Tampa, FL. He had 160 receptions for 3,191 yards and 41 touchdowns during his high school career. He committed to Oklahoma over offers from Florida, LSU, and Alabama.

Williams had a productive season in 2021 with the Sooners. He played in 12 games and had 35 receptions for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was also used as a kick returner and also rushed twice and completed a pass. After the season, head coach Lincoln Riley took a job at USC and Williams—along with star quarterback Caleb Williams—entered the transfer portal and followed Riley to USC.

In his first season as a USC Trojan, Williams was used in a bunch of different sets and was one of several options for Caleb Williams but still had a solid season, collecting 40 catches for 631 yards and 5 touchdowns. He will be asked to do more in his junior season and his numbers are expected to rise.

Williams has good off-the-snap speed, preventing him from getting jammed at the line of scrimmage. Even without elite speed, he has the ability to take advantage of open zones and is tough to mirror in the secondary. He has excellent body control and can contort and adjust to make catches. He can be a weapon in quick slants and becomes an instant weapon running with the ball. He does a superb job of tracking throws and can make highlight reel catches.

Williams is only 5’9” and does not have top of the line speed that seems to be expected from the smaller receivers in the NFL. He has issues with breaking off routes and finding spots in the zone. And once a play breaks down, he does not keep working to find space. This will need to be improved at the next level.

Williams is not effective on outside routes, relegating him to primarily slot play, and his overall physical strength is undeveloped for the NFL. He is not the best route runner and can get thrown off balance by good press coverage.


  • Quick off snap

  • Body Control

  • Quick slants

  • Return ability


  • Size

  • Speed

  • Press coverage

  • Stops working

Final Analysis

Mario Williams is only a true junior and could play another season at USC depending on the kinds of numbers he puts up in 2023.

Draft 412 Draft Projection- Round 3 or Round 4

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