Dynasty Debate: Corey Davis vs Mike Williams

Adam Tzikas

This year, we’ve got ourselves an outstanding class of incoming rookies to get excited for and scout as best we can before rookie drafts begin. At this point, it looks like an extremely strong running back class, but could there be a couple of major stars at wide receiver? We take a closer look at the two clear top options, Corey Davis from Western Michigan and Mike Williams from Clemson.

The Case For Corey Davis – Adam Tzikas

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Its no secret there is a top tier at the receiver position in this year’s draft class, and its owned solely by the 22 year old Corey Davis out of Western Michigan and Mike Williams from Clemson. When asked to pick between the two there is no wrong option, but I chose to go with Corey Davis. While he spent four years dominating the Middle American Conference, Davis shot to the top of draft boards around the country even in the 2016 draft. I wanted to know more about what made him so special, even coming from a lesser known conference in college football. I also want to see how he compares to someone from an as illustrious conference as the AAC and where he outshines Williams.


This debate starts off in a spot where the two are almost exactly matched. They share very similar height, both at six foot three inches. Their weight varies depending where you look, but Williams is about ten pounds heavier. I think Davis might need to get up to the same 225 that Williams comes in as to really have the longevity in the league. 215 is not a bad weight to be at but he will likely gain some weight come time for the combine*. Their ages are also incredibly close, as only about three months separates them. Leaving age out of the discussion leaves just their talent and production to come through.

*as of this writing Corey Davis tweaked his ankle and will likely miss the combine


Looking at them from a pure statistical standpoint, Davis clearly shines. He holds some incredible NCAA records – most career reception yards (5278), second all-time in touchdowns (52), and fourth in career receptions (331). He averaged 82 receptions, 1319 yards, and 13 touchdowns across each of the four years in his college career. It’s easy to dismiss a lot of this since he played in a lesser conference, but he did play in nine games versus the Big Ten conference and came away with an average of five receptions, 77 yards, and half a touchdown per game. Hard to really compare, but in the one game against a Big Ten team, Williams posted six receptions for 96 yards and zero touchdowns. Looking at team market share is no contest either. In the last two years, Davis has been responsible for around 40% of the offensive compared to just about 28% for Williams. Yet at the same time, Williams had much better teammates taking some production and missed the entire 2015 with a neck injury. While the stats tell one story and it’s a small victory for Davis; the tape is where they really start to separate.


Again, Davis faced less than top level talent on the opposite side of the ball, but his skills still shine. He has amazing hands and always catches the ball away from his body. He can make the catch over the defender and even when the defender is clearly holding him. He can track the deep ball surprisingly well and often breaks a big one on a vertical route. His after the catch ability is simply electric. More than once he shed first and second contact to make a big play into an even bigger play. Davis runs routes better than most in this class and he is ages more developed here than Williams. He doesn’t round routes at all, he looks crisp on every break and he runs most of the routes on the route tree across all of his tape. This is really rare for a rookie wide receiver, most often only run a handful of routes. Parallel to this, Davis also lines up on both sides of the field and in the slot, showcasing his grasp of offensive schemes and his versatility. Davis is deadly in the red zone, showcasing great burst for his size and great on 50/50 balls. He will be a menace with the back-shoulder fade.

Williams wins most of the time with his size, where Davis has similar size but completes it with great route ability creating a deadly combination. Combine that with the injury that Williams suffered in 2015 and it’s not much of a comparison to me. It’s clear that the full four years that Davis has spent in college had prepared him very well for the national scene. If Davis can translate 95% of his skills to the NFL, he will be a force to reckon with and can easily be the WR1 of this class.

The Case For Mike Williams – Mike Valverde

The Clemson Tigers star could be the best wide receiver coming into the NFL in 2017. Mike Williams (6’3” and 225 pounds) is going to return dividends to whichever team drafts him. First, he comes from a solid group of wide receivers at Clemson. Players such as DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant, and Sammy Watkins have showcased their talents the last few seasons.

In 2014, Williams would go on to catch 57 passes for 1,030 yards, and six touchdowns. The following season fractured his neck in the first game of the year. In 2016, we all saw what the immensely talented receiver could do. He finished his junior year catching 98 balls for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. His numbers would have been a lot larger if Deshaun Watson was more accurate in getting him the ball. Williams was unstoppable in one of the best conferences in college football, for the best team in the nation.


It takes great hands to catch 98 passes, and that is what Williams did last season for Clemson. However, just like many pass catchers out there, he will get complacent and drop a few easy ones. What he does so effortlessly is use all facets of his game. His catch radius is outstanding.

Give him a pass over his head and he will get it, give him a worm-burner and he will dig it up. Over the shoulder, sidelines, or corner post, he will bring it down. He has cat-like reflexes to strike at a pass and bring it home. He routinely makes plays with his hands and not his body.


His speed is ridiculous for someone his size. Watching him eat up space with his long strides is a particular joy. NFL defenders will have a hard time finding the right distance with him at first. He is deceptive with how fast he truly is. He doesn’t appear to be track-like quick but before you think, he is gone. If defenders man-up on him, they can’t let him chew up space differential or get close, where his speed and wiggle deceive anyone standing in his path. Williams can shake off the jam with consistency.  He has the 4.4 speed.

With his quickness comes great yards after the catch. He has been seen to take screen passes the distance by blowing through tackles and using his mobility to move around the willing tackler. Often it takes two or more defensive players to attempt to bring him down.


First, his size alone is top grade worthy, but when you add in the speed, he can whip by a helpless defender. Not only does he use his body well when running with the ball, but he knows the importance of shielding off defenders. He can go high for 50/50 balls and times his leap very well.

He can contort his body and has the excellent body control to box out defenders when the pass comes in his direction. He is a big play guy just like his former teammate Sammy Watkins. Williams is the type of athlete who will get several targets in the end zone due to his body size and control.

Williams uses his body enough to shield and block. He is also strong enough to fight off the hands getting in his way to slow his momentum. He isn’t a great blocker, but will prevent the defender from getting in the run lanes.


Mike Williams is a raw athlete. He hasn’t had the seasoning playing just two seasons at Clemson. His inexperience affects two areas that concern me – route running and being more athletic in the air. His route tree is more than just a post, but it’s not much more than that. He can run all depths of the field, but when it comes to directional routes he struggles.

Most of his issues come from his lack of footwork. He gives away hints on where he may go on regular routes, which college defenders have difficulty adjusting to, but the pros will notice immediately. I have seen him brace for contact, which is worrisome but when he is aggressive, he becomes fumble prone. He needs to learn how to concentrate on the rock and not what he is doing with it.

One of the nice things about Williams is that he is relatively healthy and young. He is only 22 years old, but that is also his Achilles heel. He has a lot of room to develop and therefore could fall more to the potential side than the proven.

Final Thoughts

The positive is negative for Mike Williams. Meaning that he has all the genetics to be the total package, but being able to use them at the pro level will be challenging. He would benefit playing for a team that already has a number one, but needs a number two or high level three. More than likely he will go early to mid-pick in the first round. The Bills would be the first team open to him at the ten spot while the Cowboys will likely be the last team at 28. I don’t see him going that early or that late. I believe he will fall anywhere between 15 with Philadelphia and 19 as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. His teaming with Mike Evans would be fantastic and would give the team two great young receivers to go with their young quarterback in Jameis Winston.


adam tzikas