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Jameson Williams “on track” in ACL recovery, but Lions view him as “long-term investment”

Mike Florio and Chris Simms head north to discuss how they think the NFC North will play out during the 2022 NFL season as half the teams in the division sport new head coaches.

The Lions made a big move in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, trading up to No. 12 overall to select Jameson Williams, even though Williams had torn his ACL playing for Alabama in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game. Williams won’t play at the start of the season, but the Lions are still very satisfied with their decision.

Lions General Manager Brad Holmes isn’t offering a precise date for when Williams will return, but Holmes said Williams is making good progress in his recovery, and that the Lions see Williams as a player who’s going to contribute for a lot more than just his rookie year.

He is on track, again, I’m not going to put out a hard date, but I will say, the weeks and weeks he’s strung together with his rehab, and he’s so gifted from a genetic standpoint,” Holmes said, via “Once he keeps that consistency going, it actually could accelerate that return that we’re thinking. You got to be a little bit conservative and on the safer side when it comes to forecasts and those returns to play. But hopefully, he stays on track, and hopefully it’s sooner than later, but we’re going to continue to be smart with him. We’ve always said that from Day 1. . . . We’ve got to be smart because we didn’t make that move for him just for Year 1. This is a long-term investment.”

The most likely scenario appears to be that the Lions get Williams on the field somewhere around mid-season. But when they traded up for him, they were really thinking of 2023 and beyond.