5. Mike Williams
The only homegrown player on this list, there is a good chance that Mike Williams peaked in terms of production in the 2019 season with Philip Rivers still under center. Practical wisdom goes against this statement completely. Not only is he entering a contract year in 2021, but he is still young and his best years should still be ahead of him.
This is not to say that Williams is going to regress like the other players on this list. However, I simply think he hit his ceiling in 2019 and he will not find that level of success again. Over the next several years, in what will be his prime, the 750-900-yard range feels about right for Williams.
There are multiple reasons for this line of thinking. First is his injury history. Williams has been really injury-prone throughout his career and that kind of thing often catches up to a player. If we are going to bet one way, we are betting that he already peaked.
The other reason is how he accomplished what he accomplished in 2019. Williams posted over 1,000 receiving yards and led the league in receptions. Why? Rivers loved to throw up the deep ball, even when Williams was in coverage, which allowed Williams to get these big chunk plays.
As talented as Williams is, I would not say that he was necessarily created a ton of separation in 2019 and that is what led to all of his big plays. He was simply getting the ball chucked up to him and either beating his defender or not.
Most quarterbacks are not going to operate like that and no matter where he goes he is not going to get these hail-mary-style jump balls that Rivers was throwing him. Plus, it is very hard to find a team where Williams would be the bonafide WR1, anyway.
Williams is likely going to carve out a niche of being one of the better WR2s in the league for years to come that does not reach his 2019 levels. Just look at Tyrell Williams. While Mike Williams is more talented, Tyrell benefitted immensely from the jump-ball nature of Rivers’ passes.
Will we see another 1,000-yard season out of Mike Williams in his career? I would bet against it, but feel free to come back to this if he proves me wrong.