Chargers WR Mike Williams was nonexistent last season, but expect a different version of Williams in 2018.
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t a fan of the Chargers picking Mike Williams with their first-round pick (No. 7 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft. It had nothing to do with Williams’ talent, but more so me wanting the team to draft a different player(s).
The thing is, I saw it coming. Even though the Chargers had a No. 1 receiver in Keenan Allen, they didn’t know if Allen was going to come back from yet another devastating injury that he suffered the year prior.
Allen did come back–and he came back STRONG, setting career highs in receptions and receiving yards and winning NFL Comeback Player of the Year in the process. Ironically, Williams ended up being the one who dealt with an injury, one that cost him all of training camp and first month of the regular season. He fell behind and ultimately played in just 10 games, finishing with 11 catches for 95 receiving yards. Yeah, that’s not what you want from your first-round pick. But because the Chargers were deep at the receiver position, there was no point in rushing Williams back.
The word “bust” has been thrown around far too often, and it’s not fair to assume that after ONE poor year a player will be bad. Williams deserves a chance.
The 23-year-old has the talent to prove that he can be a really good receiver. I mean, he was beast for the Tigers, finishing his junior year with 98 catches for 1,361 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. People also forget the game-changer he was when Clemson took on Alabama in College Football Playoff National Championship game two years ago. That performance was a big reason why general manager Tom Telesco selected him in the first place.
With a quarterback like Philip Rivers tossing him the rock, Williams has a chance to make an impact in Year 2. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder can develop into that Vincent Jackson-like player Rivers loved so much in his earlier years. You know, the physical receiver who can outjump defenders and make those big, contested catches down the field, as well as become a huge threat in the red zone, which the Chargers need now that tight end Hunter Henry (torn ACL) is out for the year. Williams’ skill set perfectly complements the elite route-runner in Allen and the tall, shifty speedster in Tyrell Williams. Throw in another fast deep threat in Travis Benjamin, an offseason standout in Artavis Scott and an athletic rookie in Dylan Cantrell, and you have yourself one of the deepest receiving corps in the entire league.
Not only that, but you know Williams wants so badly to redeem himself and show fans what he is capable of. And according to Chargers.com’s Ricky Henne, Williams is fully healthy and more knowledgeable of the playbook. He made noise at OTAs and minicamp and earned praise from coaches and teammates.
I believe Williams is going to have a bounce-back year, and you should, too.