Welcome to the 20/20 series. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine, we’ll be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2017 by giving you 20 facts you must know.
1.) Player Name – Mike Williams
2.) College – Clemson
3.) Height/Weight – 6’3”, 205 pounds (he has been listed at 225 lbs on ESPN and other sites)
4.) Birth Date – October 4, 1994 (22)
5.) Class – Redshirt Junior
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6.) College stats – Career stats: 177 receptions, 2727 yards, 21 touchdowns. His best year, like most NFL rookies, came last year where his stat line was 98-1,361-11. This afforded him the rights of lead wide receiver in the ACC. He did suffer a major injury in 2015 during Clemson’s game opener, fracturing his neck when hitting a goal post in the first possession of the game. His stat line for that drive was 2/20 and a touchdown. He managed to hang onto the ball during the hit but unfortunately that would be the last time in 2015 we would see Mike Williams on the field. His rehab was successful, as you can tell by his determination and big play ability in 2016.
7.) NFL Draft round projection – Round one. He has been projected in some mocks to be the first wide receiver off the block. There are some that favor Corey Davis of Western Michigan (row the boat) and there is concern for John Ross of Washington to be the number one taken in the 2017 draft. I don’t see it. I respect the work both wide receivers have done but I think Williams is more talented. He could fall to an NFL team later in the first round, but it is unlikely he drops into the second round. It is difficult to predict the NFL momentum during the draft, but Williams will be on many team’s draft cards.
8.) Current NFL comparison – Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos is one who Williams has been compared to in style of play. He’s hungry for the ball and looking for it on every play.
9.) Best possible destination – Tennessee Titans is the safe pick but the Dallas Cowboys is the “go out on a limb” pick. The safest place for Williams to land is with the Titans given they have two first round picks and the could use an immediate impact player like Mike Williams. Surprising as it sounds, Dallas is a team that could target a young wide receiver like Mike if he is on the board during their first round pick in the 28th spot. He should be long gone by then but if he isn’t, look for the Cowboys to add him to their already young offensive core. It might be a stretch but everyone is looking to read the obvious choice, let’s think outside the box!
10.) Worst possible destination – Kansas City Chiefs.
Although Mike Williams would likely win a starting position early with the Chiefs, I would like to him start his NFL career with a younger ambitious quarterback. The Chiefs are rarely perceived as an explosive throwing team, but do need a wide receiver as Jeremy Maclin ages and has durability issues.
11.) Best current skill – Ability to position himself to make the catch. There are faster options at the position but it is difficult to find a player more willing to jump up, block out and use his big frame to come down with the catch. His ability to obtain yards after the catch (YAC) is admirable. He is going to get you every yard possible until the whistle blows. Early on he will become the player on the field his quarterback will look for when nobody is open to make a play.
12.) Skill that needs to be improved – His speed and route running. In the NFL the defensive backs are quicker and stronger than he played against in college. The ability to run effective routes will greatly improve his playing time. He has a pure toughness about him displayed in college that led him to success. If he plans to keep this reputation he needs to improve his speed and route running so every ball thrown his way is not contested.
13.) Past/current rookie ADP – He is listed on DLF as everyone’s number one or two wide receiver off the board. The combine and pro days should give clarity to his rookie ADP. It could come down to personal preference as there are reasons to chose both Corey Davis and Mike Williams as the first wide receiver today.
14.) Projected dynasty value – Overall in dynasty leagues you will see Williams go in the top five picks. Admittedly, this is a strong running back rookie draft. There are two backs favored to go early in rookie drafts. If you are an owner who drafted a top running back last year or have depth on your dynasty squads at running back this is a dream come true for you. If you were not lucky enough to land a top four pick in this years draft you will be happy to see the running backs go early leaving Williams for you at the 1.05 or 1.06 pick. Given this dream scenario it is likely Mike Williams will be gone by the 1.04 spot regardless. As goes for all wide receivers and running backs, his landing spot could persuade you to pick him higher or lower.
15.) Sample size – Williams is a victim of limited years of college play given his neck injury in 2015 where he sat out the entire year minus Clemson’s first possession of their opener. However, he more than proved his worth in the national championship game in January, along with leading the ACC in wide receiver stats for the 2016 season.
16.) Speed – I don’t find Williams particularly fast but I don’t find him slow by any means. He will not out run defensive backs in the NFL like we have seen Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs or Will Fuller of the Houston Texans do, but he can be a little twisty and shifty when trying to get open for a catch.
17.) Determination – His dedicated desire to work in the off-season after his 2015 neck injury is impressive. His determination in rehabbing and focus on getting back on the field in 2016 was nothing short of hard work. He did not come back in 2016 as an average player, he came back a faster, stronger version of his previous self.
19.) How did he fare vs. top competition – In the college championship game Clemson took on the Crimson Tide of Alabama. There are many that thought Alabama was unbeatable. Clemson stayed the course and won the title. In that game Williams had eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. He proved he will show up during the big games against tough competition.
20.) What type of offense fits? – A team running the west coast offense could find the most success with Williams on the field. He can threaten opposing defenses while running slants in the middle of the field and remember his ability to run after the catch sets him up perfectly in this position.
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