Wide Receiver #7
Junior, 6-4 218
- Exceptional ball tracking skills
- Wins majority of 50/50 catches
- Average release off the line with too much wasted movement
- Eight drops in 2016
- Needs polish in overall route running
- Reliable redzone target
- Large catch radius
- Does not have elite play speed
- 2016 First Team All-ACC
A budding star after immediate playing time in his freshman year (three starts/13 games: 20 receptions, 316 yards, three touchdowns), Mike Williams followed with a 1,000-yard season with freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson making his collegiate debut. Williams complemented his 1,030 yards with six touchdowns on 57 receptions. Williams was unable to string together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons because of a neck injury suffered during the first game of the season after a touchdown versus Wofford. He was diagnosed with a fractured neck and fortunately was able to return to football the following summer but still missed the entire 2015 season.
Williams picked up right where he left off as he exceeded his impressive 2014 total increasing his yardage total to 1,361 with just two catches shy of 100 receptions. His 11 touchdowns ranked second in the ACC (Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse – 12) with 10 of those coming in the redzone, which ranked second in the nation to speedster John Ross (12). He finished the 2016 season as a second team All-American and a first team All-ACC selection. Williams ranks third in school history with 21 touchdowns, fourth with 2,727 receiving yards and fifth in receptions with 177.
Williams jumps off the page immediately with his desired measurables checking in at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds at the combine. He plays to that frame showing off a physical edge in jump ball situations and winning almost every 50/50 ball. He boasts these skills in just about every game.
While showing off his impressive catch radius and leaping ability, his body control is also on display being able to locate then adjust to poorly thrown balls with a defender draped all over him. Even though one of his strengths is his physical advantage when the ball is in the air, Williams is not as physical as you would expect at the line of scrimmage. Facing press situations often, Williams relies more on head fakes and jab steps when trying to get an adequate release off the line. Most of these moves are wasted when just an extended punch or an actual jab step would suffice.
More than occasionally knocked for his game speed, Williams’ struggles to gain a separation advantage are not all due to the lack of elite-level speed. He shows a habit of being lazy out of his breaks rounding off routes and not selling any fakes giving defenders an easy assessment to diagnose.
Drops (eight in 2016) and fumbles became a theme for Williams during his career. Most of his drops came when there was plenty of green in front of him or when the endzone was in sight. His drops were more because of a lack of focus because he shows to have reliable hands in traffic with a consistent theme of high pointing the football and snagging balls that most receivers can’t. Most of his high-pointing ability is due in part to his elite ball tracking and awareness skills.
Lining up on the outside about 90 percent of the time in Clemson’s offense, Williams already has that No. 1 type mold that he will look to accentuate at the next level. Coming back from his neck injury to All-America form, his injury history will almost be eliminated when talk begins in the boardrooms. His broad and well-built frame paves way to execute the catch in congested situations along with natural hands and plus high-pointing ability. His vertical style of play may change based on his lack of elite WR1 straight-line speed but he should see many targets Day One working the middle and intermediate area of the field.
Round Grade: First Round
Player Comparison: Dez Bryant