This might be true for any year of the NFL draft, but I feel like I’ve been writing the line “day one starter” a LOT in these profiles. Sure, I’m profiling just the top incoming rookies at each of their positions but I feel like this class has can’t miss prospects at every offensive position. Except quarterback. Poor Cleveland.
Welp, chalk up another “day one starter” as Mike Williams will come into this already pass happy league and make some team happy to pass. Let’s start with the physical attributes. Williams is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. That’s fast for a man of that size. As you might expect from a man of this size, he’s best trait is his catch radius. He has big, strong hands and can outmuscle most any defensive back at the point of attack.
While Williams is built like an outside, nine-route receiver—which he of course does extremely well—he also can run across the middle of the field and is almost unstoppable running the slant. His frame is too big for defensive backs to get around to break up the pass and Williams’ sure hands (dropped only 5.7% of catchable balls) are like a vice grip once the ball makes contact with his gloves. If there is a team looking for a big bodied, number one receiver, downfield threat guy, they’re drooling over Mike Williams.
Williams does have the occasional lapse in focus leading to a few open drops and he doesn’t get elite separation from corners. However, I’m not worried about his separation simply because he’s big enough to jump over and/or box out whatever corner is covering him.
I’m not going to be crazy and write Mike Williams is a WR1 as soon as he enters the NFL. While his talent is clearly there, it always takes receivers a few years to get their toes wet in the league before they become superstars both in real and fantasy football. He definitely worth a spot on your fantasy team and I’d start looking to draft him around rounds 4-5.
William’s College Stats
Best Fantasy Fits
- Tennessee Titans: In most of the mock drafts I’ve seen, the Titans are a favorite destination for Williams and it makes all of the sense. The Titans have themselves a franchise quarterback and have been trying to get Marcus Mariota the weapons he needs to keep climbing into the realm of elite NFL quarterbacks. Williams would have very little competition for the number one receiver in Tennessee and would make an excellent downfield complement to Mariota’s current favorite target, tight end Delanie Walker. And don’t let the infamous “exotic smashmouth” offense of Tennessee fool you, this team can pass the football. Look no further than last year’s prized free agent Rishard Matthews who finished 14th among fantasy wide receivers in total points with 146.5. I personally benefited greatly from Matthews as he was a mid-season pickup for me who helped carry me to a championship in one of my leagues last year.
- Buffalo Bills: What’s better than one hyper-talented Clemson Tiger wide receiver? TWO hyper-talented Clemson Tiger wide receivers. Yes, pairing Mike Williams with old college teammate Sammy Watkins would be the start to quite the receiver duo in Buffalo. This would be a wonderful fantasy move because it helps two birds with one birdhouse. See what I did there? Drafting Williams would put Watkins into the “stretch the field” role in Buffalo, something he not only can do very well but will also help keep him healthy as he won’t be working across the middle of the field as much. Williams would become Tyrod Taylor’s—or whomever will be quarterbacking that team this season—best friend and security blanket, catching everything and anything that’s thrown his way. Watkins would return to fantasy relevance because he’d be able to stay healthy AND get lots of big plays while Williams would thrive in PPR leagues where his 12 targets a game would lead the league. Who says no?
- Arizona Cardinals: I’ll be honest here, I hadn’t even thought of this pairing until today. As I was writing this. Just goes to show you the best ideas are the last second ones. Most of my college essays can attest to that. What triggered this pairing was two-fold. Firstly, the Cardinals have suddenly become weak at receiver. Larry Fitzgerald, despite being the best guy ever, is getting older and won’t be in the league forever. Heir-replacement Michael Floyd just won a Super Bowl with the Patriots and the combo of John Brown and J.J. Nelson took a big step back last year. Second, here’s part of PFF’s scouting report on Mike Williams: “May not create enough separation to fit with every quarterback style. Needs aggressive passer to allow him to win at the catch point in contested situations.” Um, sound like the MO of any team/coach/quarterback in the league? Bruce Arians LOVES the gunslinger mentality and would LOVE a receiver who you can just chuck the ball deep to and more often than not, he’ll come down with it. Sign me up for that pairing.
Where would you like to see Mike Williams play in 2017?
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