Lions rookie WR Jameson Williams makes NFL debut

DETROIT -- Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams made his NFL debut Sunday against the Jaguars after being activated from the non-football injury list Saturday.

Williams, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 draft, reported to practice for the first time ahead of the Thanksgiving game after suffering a torn ACL at Alabama in January. This week, he participated in his first full week of action before the team made the final decision on his availability.

"I wouldn't say I feel rusty, I'm getting back on my feet. I've been running around for a little minute now," Williams said. "So, it's just I'm back out with the team. I wouldn't say I feel rusty."

Williams benefited from staying close to the team during his entire recovery process. Following Thursday's practice, he says he's "somewhere close" to being back at full speed.

"I'm running real fast right now. I feel real fast," Williams said. "I'm feeling good."

The Lions organization remained patient throughout the process of his recovery. Coach Dan Campbell and the staff were careful not to rush him back on the field.

On his first day of practice, Williams initially started by running the passing tree routes on Monday, Nov. 21, with former practice squad quarterback Tim Boyle after a team walk-through.

"Very smooth and extremely fast. Really good in and out of breaks, ran really crisp routes," Boyle told ESPN. "It was definitely good to see him. You could tell he was excited to be back out there. He was kind of holding back his little smirk."

The team then let him enter drills this week with some individual one-on-one work and scout team reps to add more of a load. Campbell said he looked better every day.

"This was all about just getting his legs under him," Campbell said.

After seeing Williams in practice, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and quarterback Jared Goff said his speed is the first thing that jumped out to them.

"Honestly, I've been more impressed in anything -- once he gets in between those white lines, his demeanor is all about football," Johnson said. "It's what we thought we were getting when we drafted him back in the spring, and that's held true. The guy loves the game, and you can just see him light up, and he's all about ball."

He has worked hard to develop chemistry with Goff through constant communication and practice reps as they trying to get him acclimated into the offense as quickly as possible. His teammates are excited to see what he can finally bring to the table.

"I mean [former Rams WR] Brandin Cooks is probably the fastest guy I've played with, and it's a different type of speed though, and again, I haven't seen him play in a real game, but he's longer," Goff said of Williams and his speed. "He's a stride guy. He's got length. He's got wingspan.

"Brandin was more just kind of a burner and has done that well for a long time, but Jameson, he can extend on guys," he said. "He can really make catches away from his body, that type of stuff. And how much he's able to help us in the next six games, we'll see, but certainly as a quarterback, you want him on the field as soon as possible."