2017 NFL Draft Profile: Wide Receiver Mike Williams
By Michael Pallas
Here are the strengths, weaknesses, and video highlights of wide receiver Mike Williams out of Clemson.
The career of wide receiver Mike Williams at Clemson was a roller coaster, and not due to lack of talent or skill. As a freshman, he had three starts. In those three starts, he had 20 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns.
He followed that up with a stellar sophomore campaign, earning third-team All-ACC honors while catching 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns. Then, as a junior, he was expecting an All-American season but instead fractured his neck when crashing into the goalpost. It was then he thought his football career might be over.
However, in 2016 he was cleared by doctors for contact. Williams earned second-team Walter Camp All-American and first team All-ACC honors by catching 87 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns.
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At 6’3, 225 lbs. Williams has the quintessential size and speed for a wide receiver. If he’s up against a backpedaling, he can sell his vertical routes and turn quickly.
Williams has long arms and big hands and can high point the football. He will win most 50/50 battles. Williams tracks the ball exceptionally well, whether it’s inside, outside or over the shoulder.
He can work all three levels of the defense, and when he’s over the middle, his concentration level goes up. He has superior run after the catch ability and has the body to be a difference maker as a blocker.
While his pass catching ability seems natural, he has drop issues. He needs to be more focused and show energy on route running. Winning on physical traits alone could be too much to ask for at the next level.
Williams needs to understand how to use route running to open up windows for quarterbacks to throw. His release lacks quickness, and he’s not crisp enough on plant-and-go.
He doesn’t always play to his size and get out muscled on the sidelines. The 2015 neck injury could be an issue until he gets through the medical examinations at the 2017 NFL Combine.
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DRAFT DAY PREDICTION
Williams has all the makings of a No. 1 wide receiver. He can work the middle of the field and has the ball skills to be the primary receiver. He needs work on his route running and releases, but that won’t stop teams from drafting him early in the first round.