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LA Chargers Week 17 Overreactions: Justin Herbert the best rookie ever?

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers motions to pass the ball in the first half of the game against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers motions to pass the ball in the first half of the game against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

Overreaction #2: Mike Williams showed that he is a legitimate WR2 moving forward and worthy of a big payday

After the Los Angeles Chargers drafted Justin Herbert, most of us believed this was good news for the future of Mike Williams.

Williams always was a favorite downfield target of Philip Rivers due to his jump ball ability. Now, with Rivers being replaced with the strong-armed Justin Herbert, many of us expected a very bright future for Mike Williams.

However, the 2020 season has not been too kind to Mike Williams. Despite Justin Herbert starting nearly all of the 2020 season and playing at an elite level, Williams has been limited to just 42 receptions for 648 yards.

However, in Week 17, Mike Williams was a significant part of the game plan, particularly in the first half, where Williams had 5 receptions and 60 yards alone. After adding a long catch in the second half, Williams had his best week of the season with 6 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Given Williams’ demonstration of his ability to produce when targeted in Week 17, is it fair to say that Mike Williams is a legitimate WR2?

There is certainly reason to believe so.

Much of Williams’ lack of production in 2020 has been due to a lack of targets. With more targets in Week 17, Williams did what was expected of him and put up good production.

However, what has plagued Williams for much of his career has been a lack of ability to create separation against good cornerbacks. Previously, Philip Rivers ignored this lack of separation, allowing Mike Williams to do his thing in jump-ball situations, but Justin Herbert has played it safer, only throwing to Williams when he is truly open.

While Williams demonstrated his ability to get open on shorter routes in Week 17, it should not be trusted, as he was mainly creating separation against unknown backups like Thakarius Keyes.

Mike Williams is certainly good enough to be a team’s second wide receiver, but he has to create separation and help his quarterback to be paid as well as one. Next year, Williams is set to be paid a whopping $15.6 million. A player paid that much money has to be able to create separation, and he is not worth that much money at this point in his career.

Verdict #2: Slight overreaction

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