Scouting Profile: Wide Receiver Mike Williams
Mike Williams, Clemson
Weight: 218 lbs.
Arms: 33 3/8”
Hands: 9 3/8”
Of all the wide receivers in the NFL Draft, I’m not sure that there is one with the looks and size of a No. 1 wide receiver like Mike Williams. He stands six-foot-four and weighs 219 pounds, giving him size comparisons to A.J. Green and Martavis Bryant, which is most definitely a good thing. But is he a size-speed freak like those two?
When watching Williams’ game film, the area that stands out is his ability to catch the ball at its highest point. This is important, because Williams disappointed with just a 32.5 inch vertical, which ranked 30th of the 51 wide receivers who jumped at the NFL Combine. By comparison, the aforementioned Green had a 34.5 inch vertical, while Bryant’s was a massive 39 inches.
One thing you don’t want to overlook in the evaluation period of a wide receiver is who was throwing him the ball, and Williams had arguably the best quarterback in college football (DeShaun Watson) throwing to him, while Corey Davis didn’t. This isn’t the biggest evaluating factor, but it is definitely something that worked in Williams’ favor. The chemistry between Williams and Watson on back shoulder throws was a thing of beauty.
He’s a natural hands catcher that doesn’t let the ball get to his body very often, which is a good quality to have, and overly impressive when catching passes from Watson, who has a cannon for an arm. His ability to adjust to the ball in the air is also above average, as he can stop in his route just to high-point the ball directly over the defensive back.
The area of his game that lacks is his route running, as he often looks like he’s just going through the motions on his short and intermediate routes. There aren’t many sharp cuts to his routes, which forces him to rely on his ball skills to win. He’ll need to create more separation in his routes at the pro-level, as the cornerbacks will be top-notch.
While I view Corey Davis as someone who will come in and contribute immediately, Williams is a guy who can use some refining to his game before becoming an every-down player. The sky is the limit however, and because of that, he’s a first round pick.
Potential landing spot
With his skill-set, he’ll be a presence in the red-zone immediately, so I could see a team like the Cardinals taking the plunge. Not only is Larry Fitzgerald one year away from retirement, but John Brown is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2017 season. For Williams, this is the best case scenario as well, as he’ll be able to learn from one of the game’s premier route runners before he retires. Other teams that should have interest include: Titans, Lions, Seahawks, and Cowboys.
Alshon Jeffery is the player that comes to mind when watching Williams, and it works because Jeffery also wasn’t a complete player coming out of college. He was used downfield, imposing his will on cornerbacks, jumping over them and snatching touchdowns while Brandon Marshall worked underneath. Williams is a more natural hands catcher than Jeffery, but Jeffery has more hops with his 36.5 inch vertical. If Williams can improve his route running to become a more complete receiver, he could emerge as one of the league’s top dual-threats.