Chargers Draft

Charger Fans: Meet wide receivers Mike Williams and Corey Davis

Dec 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) works out prior to the ACC Championship college football game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) works out prior to the ACC Championship college football game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Mike Williams or Corey Davis?

Mike Williams from Clemson University and Corey Davis from Western Michigan are arguably the top receivers in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Los Angeles Chargers hold the seventh overall pick in the draft. Wide receiver is considered a need for the Chargers, but is it worth the seventh overall pick?

Who are the Chargers’ receivers? 

The wide receivers under contract for 2017 consist of Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Stevie Johnson, Tyrell Williams, Da’Ron Brown and Jamal Jones. The likely locks to make the final 53-man roster are Allen, Benjamin and Williams.

Johnson may be a cap casualty, as he is in his final year of his three-year deal he signed back in 2015. Johnson carries a cap hit of $4.5 million for 2017. If cut, it would free up $3.5 million against the cap, while owing Johnson $1 million in dead money.

Johnson hasn’t been able to stay healthy, missing eight games in 2015 and missing all of 2016 with a season-ending knee injury. When Johnson has been on the field, the 30-year-old receiver has underwhelmed. I expect Johnson to be cut this offseason.

Allen has also proven to be unlucky with injuries. Many have even labeled the 24-year-old receiver to be injury prone. Allen has played in only nine games the past two seasons, so I can see why he carries that label in league circles. However, when Allen is healthy and on the field, he is an elite talent and a No. 1 receiver. Allen, who signed a four-year, $45 million extension in last June, is obviously a lock to make the 53-man roster.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Benjamin was signed this past offseason to a four-year, $24 million contract with $13 million guaranteed. He did not live up to expectations this past season, but that was partly due to a knee injury he played through. Benjamin went underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week on his right knee, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Tuesday. Benjamin is a shore bet to make the 53-man roster in 2017.

Williams stepped up big in 2017. Williams is a former undrafted free agent, and at 24 years old, he proved he belongs in the NFL. He is scheduled to make $615,000 in 2017. Don’t be surprised if Williams is signed to an extension this offseason (or the next). Williams is also a shore bet to make the 53-man roster.

Dontrelle Inman is a RFA this offseason. This will give the Chargers an advantage to see what Inman is offered on the open market. The Chargers will be able to match any deal that is offered to Inman. I could see the Chargers bringing back Inman if the price is right. With that said, I could also see them letting the 28-year-old receiver walk. I would personally let him walk.

Isaiah Burse, Jeremy Butler and Geremy Davis are also free agents this offseason. I expect the Chargers to let all three walk, and I would do the same.

Why wide receiver is definitely a need for the Chargers

Well, Allen, Benjamin and Williams could be the only receivers under contract going into the draft. This may be risky for the Chargers, but the 2017 draft has enticing talent, and general manager Tom Telesco has not been successful when targeting receivers in free agency. Whether the Chargers decide to take a receiver in Round 1 or sign an undrafted free agent after the conclusion of the draft, they need to add a playmaker for quarterback Philip Rivers. Let’s look at Round 1 options for the Chargers.

Who is Mike Williams?

Mike Williams is a unique talent, constantly dominating defensive backs with his size and strength. Williams is listed at 6-3, 225 pounds, and plays even bigger than he actually is at times. Williams is a one-of-a-kind talent, and a future No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

Williams has tremendous ball skills and is able to win at the catch point with ease.

Williams also has a huge catch radius.

And did I mention he has elite strength?

Williams is a future NFL star in the making. Tyrann Mathieu agrees with that assessment, as he posted his feelings of Williams on Twitter when Williams declared for the draft, saying, “Mike Williams somewhere between Julio (Jones) & A.J. Green.”

Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network thinks highly of Williams as well.

“He should be a true No. 1 receiver very early in his NFL career,” stated Jeremiah.

NFL draft lead writer for Bleacher Report, Matt Miller, also thinks Williams has a bright future, comparing Williams to one of the NFL’s best at wide receiver, saying, “At 6-3 and 225 pounds, Mike Williams is a big target at wide receiver. Some may see Alshon Jeffery or A.J. Green in his long arms and nifty route-running, but he’s all Demaryius Thomas to me.”

Who is Corey Davis? 

Corey Davis is the all-time leader in FBS with 5,285 yards receiving. Davis is an elite route-runner, and from my estimation has one of the highest floors in the entire draft class. Davis has ideal size (6-3, 213 lbs.), and is a do-it-all receiver. Davis is one of my favorite players to watch in the entire draft class on tape because of his polished route-running and big-play ability.

Davis is a human highlight reel.

Davis has strong hands and can go up and get the ball.

He also has the speed to separate.

Jeremiah has Davis ranked above Williams in his initial top 50 prospect list. He has Davis as his eighth overall player and Williams as his ninth overall player. Jeremiah’s scouting report on Davis makes you feel confident he is far from having the potential to bust.

“Davis has ideal height-weight-play speed for the position. He lines up inside and outside, and he’s a very polished and precise route runner. He powers through press coverage and does a nice job of changing speeds and creating separation down the field. He attacks the football in the air with very strong hands and he’s nifty after the catch. He doesn’t have elite speed but he’s plenty fast. Overall, Davis is an excellent player with both a high floor and a high ceiling.”

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Bleacher Report’s Miller has a “draft crush” on Davis.

“Corey Davis is the top-ranked “small-school” player in the 2017 draft class, but don’t let the level of competition at Western Michigan fool you,” Miller said. “Davis is a smooth route-runner with top-tier hands and great ability to create separation in his route tree.”

Mid-round options at Wide Receiver 

If the Chargers elect to pass on Williams and Davis at pick seven and select a safety Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker for example, there is plenty of mid-round options at receiver for them to target. Washington wide receiver John Ross is most likely going to be selected in the mid-late first round and will be out of the Chargers’ reach. Second-round options for the Chargers would include wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Zay Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

If the Chargers decide to address a different position and take an offensive lineman in Round 2, wide receiver can be had later in the draft. Wide receivers Isaiah Ford, Amara Darboh, Dede Westbrook, Curtis Samuel, Taywan Taylor, Chad Hansen, Carlos Henderson and Josh Reynolds are players that could be potential targets for the Chargers later in the draft.

Williams or Davis? 

If the Chargers do decide to select a wide receiver in Round 1 of the NFL draft, whom would you prefer? To me, Williams is the better player with higher upside. I would personally select Williams over Davis, but it’s really splitting hairs between the two. It is a 1a-1b ranking at the wide receiver position for me.

Williams would have been my highest-ranked wide receiver if he declared for the draft last season. He has a very high ceiling and is a blue-chip player. I look at Williams as having Dez Bryant-like traits.

Not only do I think Williams is the better player over Davis, but he would fit the Chargers’ offense better. Rivers loves throwing to a big-body receiver who can overpower defensive backs when the ball is in the air, like what former Charger Vincent Jackson did back in the day. So Charger fans, who would you rather draft if it is a wide receiver at No. 7: Williams or Davis?

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