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Mykel Williams the top player on ESPN expert's draft board for 2025

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs07/09/24


ESPN has heaped tons of praise on Georgia quarterback Carson Beck ahead of the 2024 season, and the 2025 NFL Draft. Matt Miller projected him as the No. 1 overall pick, and while Miller’s partner in crime on player rankings Jordan Reid agrees Beck has a great chance, he’s got another Bulldog on top of his big board. That would be Mykel Williams.

The third-year defensive lineman/outside linebacker is admittedly “a bit of a projection” Reid wrote, but the upside is undeniable. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Williams can play with his hand in the dirt like he’s done his first two years in Athens while also standing up as an edge rusher and run defender too.

“Williams enters this season as the No. 1 player on my board for the 2025 draft. Yes, it requires quite a bit of projection, but at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, the junior pass-rusher has enormous upside. And while he has nine sacks combined over the past two seasons, the stat sheet doesn’t tell the full story of how valuable he is to the Georgia defense,” Reid wrote. “Williams played more snaps at defensive tackle (162) than defensive end (148) or outside linebacker (54) in 2023, and he finished with 10 tackles for loss and 23 pressures. He has to be better with finishing plays, but he shows plenty of length and strength at the point of attack. I see the third-year edge rusher as an NFL-ready run-defender, evidenced by eight run stops last season. Williams reminds me of Travon Walker, the No. 1 pick in 2022.”

Georgia hopes to showcase that versatile skillset a little bit more in 2024. The plan is to play him more often at outside linebacker. He did so in the Orange Bowl against Florida State this past season as the Bulldogs experimented some. It resulted in his best game of the season, totaling four tackles including 1.5 for loss. Williams also recovered his own forced fumble from a strip sack, one of the several highlights in a dominant win over the Seminoles.

“He will transition into a full-time outside linebacker role this season, which should position him for an ascension in what’s considered to be a strong defensive line class,” Reid added. “After turning 20 years old a month ago, Williams has the combination of size and movement skills to go early in the draft, but scouts want to see him take the next step as a pass-rusher by expanding his repertoire of moves and creativity with his hands.”

Reid gave Williams a 15% chance of going in the top spot. Of course he’s still high on Beck and his chances to go No. 1 given the position value. Sitting at 20%, Beck leads the way among the “Serious Contenders” category.

“Beck is the most common name mentioned at the top of this class of signal-callers, but there are still some questions that he needs to answer heading into his second season as a full-time starter,” Reid wrote. “Beck finished last season with 3,941 passing yards, 24 touchdown throws and 6 interceptions. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, he’s a linear-built passer who wastes little time getting the ball out of his hand. His average of 2.38 seconds before the throw tied for the nation’s quickest release last season. He also finished with a 72.4% completion rate (fourth-best in FBS) and an 86 Total QBR (fifth), showing really good processing ability. However, Beck doesn’t make a ton of plays outside of structure, and his footwork is still a little inconsistent.”

“With Brock Bowers, Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint now in the NFL, Beck will be tasked with taking a significant leap in Year 2 with a lot of new and inexperienced playmakers around him,” he added. “If Beck can answer the call and put up another big season, he could certainly emerge as QB1 in this class and end up the top pick for a quarterback-needy franchise.”

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