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Kiper: Former Auburn WR D’haquille Williams should be ‘thankful’ for combine invite

Former Auburn Tigers wide receiver D'haquille Williams (1) makes a catch against Kansas State University at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on September 18, 2014.
Former Auburn Tigers wide receiver D'haquille Williams (1) makes a catch against Kansas State University at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on September 18, 2014. AP Photo

Former Auburn wide receiver D’haquille Williams is one of the 300-plus collegiate prospects arriving in Indianapolis, Indiana this week for the NFL scouting combine.

Williams received an invitation to the event despite being dismissed from the program midway through the season.

The annual event gives NFL executives, coaching staffs and player personnel from all 32 teams the chance to evaluate players from around the country through interviews, physical drills and medical evaluations.

Williams’ draft stock has taken a hit thanks to his off-the-field issues, but the combine will give the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College junior college transfer a chance to answer for his disappointing senior season.

“The fact that he’s there and other good receivers aren’t is the reason why you got to take advantage of it,” ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr said. “You got to be thankful you are there cause some pretty good receivers aren’t there that had much better years than he did, had much better finishes to their career than he did.”

On a Tuesday conference call, Kiper said Williams has to interview well while showing scouts at Lucas Oil Stadium the skills that made him Auburn’s No. 1 receiver as a junior when he caught 45 passes for 730 yards with five touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 224-pounder drew national attention for his a breakout performance against Arkansas in the season-opener going for 154 yards and a touchdown.

“Go out there and show the kind of talent you showed two years ago at Auburn,” Kiper said. “He showed he can be a number one guy, a guy that could be a tough matchup with his size.”

Kiper had Williams ranked as his top receiver going into the 2015 season making him a possible first round pick. The receiver won’t be able to jump back into the top rounds with a strong combine performance, but it would make him fall into the range of a fourth to fifth round pick.

“He’s had plenty of time to get ready for it,” Kiper said.

List of Auburn’s NFL combine invites

  • D’haquille Williams (WR)
  • Ricardo Louis (WR)
  • Peyton Barber (RB)
  • Cassanova McKinzy (LB)
  • Kris Frost (LB)
  • Shon Coleman (OL)
  • Avery Young (OL)
  • Jonathan Jones (DB)
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