In what is quickly turning into Wide Receiver U, can Mike Williams follow his predecessors at Clemson and become a star?
He’s raw, but the potential is there. His route tree was limited at Clemson. He basically ran quick slants, fades and back shoulder routes. Williams will have to work hard to perfect route running craft at the next level. He didn’t create consistent separation with the Tigers, but his physicality and prowess in jump-ball situations got him by.
While Williams was a freshman with the Tigers, he learned under Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. Prior to those two, it was DeAndre Hopkins who reigned supreme in Death Valley. Williams battled through a severe neck injury in 2015, but bounced back in 2016 to catch 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Let’s check out the tape …
Williams has a large catch radius to go with strong and soft hands to effortlessly pluck the ball out of the air.
Williams is phenomenal in 50-50 jump ball situations using his long arms, size, body control and strong hands.
At 6’3, 225 pounds, Williams takes hits well and has the strength to hang onto the football.
For a wideout with Williams’ arm length and strength, you’d think he’d be a better blocker, but this is an area where he showed laziness at the collegiate level.
Like I stated above Williams is raw and didn’t consistently gain separation due to his limited route running ability. While he got by with physicality and winning contested catches at Clemson, it’s not going to be as easy lining up against the NFL’s top cornerbacks.
There’s actually a lot of Alshon Jeffery in Mike Williams’ game because of his ability to consistently come down with contested catches using body control and strong hands. While I have Williams as my No. 1 ranked wideout in the class, I believe Corey Davis and John Ross are better fits for the Birds in the first round due to their contrasting styles of Jeffery.
Davis is more of a polished product currently, but Williams has more upside and I believe he’ll wind up becoming the most productive wideout in this class.
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