The former Alabama All-SEC player, who starred for the Cardinal Ritter Lions in high school, was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 12th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas on April 28.
The Lions moved up 22 spots via a trade with the Minnesota Vikings to land the talented wide receiver, and Williams was honored.
"They showed me that I was a wanted player. I'm a wanted player on their roster and I have a chance to make a big impact,” he told NFL.com
Williams, who tore the ACL in his left knee in the national championship game against Georgia in early January, wrote on Twitter that he would be ready for action when Lions training camp starts in late July. He began his collegiate career at Ohio State in 2019 before transferring to Alabama. He tallied 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021.
Williams was the first St. Louis area player selected during the three-day draft, but he wasn’t the only local prospect to hear his name called or sign an undrafted free agent contract after the draft’s completion.
Former Michigan running back Hassan Haskins, who starred at Eureka High School, was picked by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round. The 131st overall selection, Haskins’ five-touchdown performance against rival Ohio State and solid 2021 season caught Titans head coach Mike Vrabel’s eye.
Haskins joins All-Pro running back Derrick Henry, and he told the Nashville Tennessean “it’s a blessing.”
“[Henry] is one of the best. I'm going to learn and get better with him. I just feel like it's going to be a good combination, so we're going to see."
Former Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams will join the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams after the team selected him in the fifth round with the draft’s 164th overall pick.
“I promise, y’all gonna get everything from me,” Williams, who was a standout at Vianney High School, told the Rams and L.A. fans on Twitter.
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman wrote on Twitter, “[Kyren Williams] does all the right things on and off the field and has earned this moment. I’m so proud of him. Let’s go!”
Marquis Hayes was taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round of the draft. He played guard at Oklahoma after being a stalwart on the offensive and defensive lines of Pattonville.
Former Pattonville star quarterback Kaleb Eleby, who impressed many NFL scouts while guiding Western Michigan the past two seasons, accepted a rookie mini-camp invitation from the Seattle Seahawks. This is a true opportunity. The underachieving Drew Lock, who came to Seattle in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver, is the team’s presumed starter. He is backed up by Geno Smith. Eleby could be in the right spot at the right time.
Aqeel Glass, a two-time HBCU Player of the Year who starred at quarterback for Lutheran North before shining at Alabama A&M, was not selected but accepted a rookie mini-camp invitation from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He wrote on Twitter, “beyond blessed for this opportunity excited and ready to get to work.”
Zach Harding, a St. Peters native who attended Living Word Christian High School and punted for Army, received an invitation to attend the New York Jets rookie mini-camp.
The Reid Roundup
After no HBCU players were selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, four were picked last weekend. They are Joshua Williams, CB Fayetteville State, (K.C. Chiefs, 4th round); Decobie Durant, CB South Carolina State, (L.A. Rams, 4th round;) James Houston, CB Jackson State, (Detroit Lions, 6th round); and Ja'Tyre Carter, DL Southern U. (Chicago Bears, 7th round…The Missouri Tigers had two players drafted by respective NFL teams. Cornerback Akayleb Evans was taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the 4th round and running back Tyler Badie was selected in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens…While some NFL mock drafts had Liberty quarterback Malik Willis going in the first round, he slipped to the third round. However, Tennessee traded up to nab him and Willis handled his unexpected drop in a first-class manner. “Still super appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to be in Vegas and is a prime example on adversity and continuing to grow in your faith.” Willis tweeted on Thursday night...Recording artist Drake won $350,000 when USC’s Drake London was the first wide receiver chosen in the NFL Draft. Drake placed his $100,000 bet on London being first on Valentine’s Day.