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Why it’s important Mike Williams breaks 1,000 receiving yards

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: Mike Williams #81 makes a catch for a touchdown, to take a 10-9 lead over the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 15, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: Mike Williams #81 makes a catch for a touchdown, to take a 10-9 lead over the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 15, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Mike Williams is 88 yards away for hitting 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his young NFL career. Here’s why it’s important he reaches it.

10 games, 11 receptions, 95 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns. That’s Mike Williams in 2017, a year full of injuries and disappointment, particularly for a receiver taken seventh overall in the draft. The Chargers needed a free safety, tackle, guard, center, or anything that wasn’t wide receiver; at least, not in the first round.

It’s not Williams’ fault he was taken so early, but his incredibly high selection brought heightened expectations along with it. As expected, 95 receiving yards and zero touchdowns in one year started to move him in the direction of a “bust” label.

In 2018, that would begin to change.

No. 81 scored 11 times in his second season, carrying momentum and health from the preseason and pushing forward to become a touchdown machine, even in an offense with Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams. It was a rebound year, no doubt, but Williams still had one more milestone to pass: 1,000 receiving yards.

Sure, passing that number is meaningless in terms of overall contribution to the success of the season. The season is over, and 10,000 receiving yards wouldn’t help the Chargers make the postseason. But it’s important for Williams to pass that number, simply because no one could ever use him not passing that number against him.

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No. 81 has now set career-highs in receptions, receiving yards, average yards per reception (should the numbers continue), and longest catch. This, by the way, while playing with a knee injury that has him hobbling once or twice nearly every game. He’s pushing hard for his team, but one can’t help but think he’s also fighting for his own reputation. Let’s hope the third-year pro can finally break a very important milestone.

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