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Lions trade up, draft wide receiver Jameson Williams

The first move by Lions general manager Brad Holmes Thursday was a pretty easy one taking arguably the best pass rusher in the draft in Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson No. 2 overall.

The second move, a trade up to the No. 12 pick to take arguably the top wide receiver in the draft, Alabama's Jameson Williams, proved if Holmes sees a player he wants, he's not afraid to go and get him.

Holmes traded the No. 32, No. 34 and No. 66 picks to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to No. 12 (also gaining pick No. 46) to select Williams, arguably one of the top receivers in this draft class.

In Williams, the Lions have acquired a huge big-play threat for their offense. He hauled in an Alabama single-season record four touchdowns of 70-plus yards, a number that led all Division 1 receivers. He totaled 11 touchdowns of 30-plus yards or more to also lead the nation.

"We talked about it in the spring time, finding someone on the outside who could dictate coverage," Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said of Williams. "Shoot, I think (Williams) checks that box 100 percent."

Of the 13 receivers in Crimson Tide program history to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark for a single season, Williams finished third on Alabama's single-season receiving yardage list with 1,572 yards, trailing only DeVonta Smith (1,856; 2020) and Amari Cooper (1,727; 2014). He also averaged 35.2 yards per kick return with two touchdowns last year.

"I see myself being a big part of this offense," Williams said Thursday. "I'm just here to show my playmaking ability and change things around, for sure."

Unfortunately, Williams tore his ACL in the national championship game, but we all know ACL tears aren't what they used to be thanks to modern medicine. Williams told reporters Thursday night that he doesn't really have a timetable for his return to the field, but hoped he'd be ready for training camp.

If not for the injury, Williams thinks he would have been the top receiver off the board. He said his big-play skill set will translate to the NFL, and he can't wait to get to Detroit to start working.

"I think teams, when he gets healthy, they will realize where he's at on the field," Johnson said. "That's what we're excited about because that's going to do nothing but open up our run game and give an opportunity for all our other skill position players.

"This is a guy who can stretch the field deep without any sweat. He is electric, he's got juice. Once he gets healthy, we're going to have something to cook with. It'll be fun."

The Lions signed veteran DJ Chark and re-signed Josh Reynolds in free agency, two players who have proven they can also get down the field and make plays. The addition of Williams gives the Lions a really nice trio of outside receivers with size, who can all take the top off the defense.

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