Position: Wide receiver
School: Clemson Tigers
Mike Williams 2017 NFL Draft Profile
There are a lot of questions about top pro prospects right now and there still should be many all the way to draft night. But one could argue that there’s no question that Mike Williams is the best wide receiver in this class. Williams is a redshirt junior who quickly established himself as one of the best pass catchers in not just the ACC, but all of college football. He started at Lake Marion High School. He had a great sophomore and junior year until he broke out in his senior year, catching 60 passes for 1,395 yards and ten touchdowns. He was a four-star recruit, ranked as the 2013 No. 180 prospect on 247Sports.com and No. 199 on ESPN. He turned down offers from the likes of Alabama and Notre Dame to attend Clemson.
His freshman year alongside Sammy Watkins, he made three starts and caught 20 balls for 316 yards and three touchdowns. In 2014, the first year without Watkins, he was the lead man for the Tigers. He led the team with 57 receptions for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns. He was Second-Team All-ACC by the media and a Biletnikoff Award Watch List member. Unfortunately, in the first game of his junior season when he was predicted to be a breakout player, he collided with the side of the goalpost and fractured his neck, forcing him to miss the remainder of the year. He came back this past fall with a vengeance, shook off the injury, and dominated the ACC like he was supposed to the previous year. He started every game and caught 98 passes for 1361 yards and 11 touchdowns. He became an integral part of the Tiger offense and Deshaun Watson’s favorite target.
Williams could have probably been a top pick in last year’s draft and possibly guided Clemson further in their season if he had been healthy. Nevertheless, he came out this season roaring and dominated the ACC en route to leading Clemson to a national title. Williams is gifted with great size and athleticism. He can win just about every 50/50 ball and can jump over any defensive back. He has long arms and frequently showed off his ability to lay out and give up his body to make a diving catch. His big frame caused him to break open field tackles and fight for extra yards. He also had an uncanny ability to show up in the biggest games of the year (Alabama, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Auburn, etc.).
For all the attributes, he doesn’t have great speed off the line or downfield to break away. He never got down great separation techniques or exploded on first or second moves. He has frequently been knocked on his lack of focus at times, missing easy plays or not paying full attention to situations. His hands are great, but many of his drops are associated with lack of focus.
- Great hands and ability to find the ball
- Big size, frame and length
- Wins almost all 50/50 balls
- Huge red zone target
- Plays great football in big games
- Ability to overcome previous injury or scares from it
- Loses focus often
- Not great separation, off the line or down field
- Speed is lacking
- A bit inconsistent
- Unknown if he can become a number one receiver
Teams with Wide Receiver Needs: Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projection: Early to mid-first round
Mike Williams has the most potential of any wide receiver in this draft. More often than not, the players with the highest ceiling and NFL intangibles get more looks by teams. He has shown how dominant he can be as the number one receiver on a team. His playmaking skills are stellar and unteachable. He can catch almost any ball thrown his way and he is big and athletic enough to snag balls with defensive backs draped on him.
His focus and mindset are one of his biggest knocks. Somewhere down the line, he must shore up his attention span and play at 100 percent all the time. He must improve his separation moves, whether that be speed or physical ways to break off defensive backs.
Williams has all the traits to be a stud on the next level. The team that drafts him will instantly have a red zone threat and big target to throw to. If he fixes all his problems and plays as a high number one draft pick, he absolutely has the potential to be the next Calvin Johnson.