When the Chargers traded up in the 2015 NFL Draft to select Melvin Gordon, the general consensus was that the value was terrible. They'd used the #15 selection on Gordon, as well as trading away a 4th and a 5th round pick to make sure they'd be able to get their man. Because fans hated the value, they hated the pick, and thus disliked the player from Day 1. Gordon undeniably had a poor rookie season - but would he have come in for such heavy criticism had the Chargers not given up so much for him?
Likewise, just because Melvin Gordon had a strong campaign last season, that doesn't mean the Chargers made a smart pick at #15. The player can be good, but the value can still be bad. That's what has happened with Mike Williams.
Was Mike Williams a good value pick at #7? No. There was a wealth of talent on the board at positions that they possibly could have done with the help in more. (On my own personal big board, my top 3 players - Patrick Mahomes, O.J. Howard and Marshon Lattimore - were all still available at #7.) The Chargers could have grabbed a franchise QB in Mahomes. They could have taken a generational talent in Howard, or grabbed Lattimore to give them the best CB trio in the league (yeah, I said it, Denver). They could have traded down - we know now that there were definitely teams looking to get ahead in the draft to pick up a franchise QB of their own.
There was so much the Chargers could have done - which is why taking a guy who wasn't even in real consideration for most fans at #7 was disappointing. For most of us, the value just wasn't there for the Chargers to make that pick. But - as the headline of this article states - the Chargers 'reaching' for Mike Williams doesn't mean that he's a bad player. Far from it.
Williams is superb at using his size to his advantage, and Philip Rivers now has a jump ball receiver in the mould of Malcom Floyd or Vincent Jackson that he enjoys so much. He's not a phenomenal athlete, and his route running isn't as good as it perhaps should be - but Tyrell Williams is beloved by the Chargers fanbase (myself included), and he's not a superb route runner, he has a problem with tipping passes to defenders and he doesn't go up to fight for the ball.
If Tyrell was a 1st round pick, he wouldn't be anywhere near as popular - in fact, I guarantee that he'd be hated by the fanbase for his inconsistency. That's because of the perceived value of the player - he was an UDFA, so any strong performances Tyrell provides are a bonus. Mike Williams was a top 10 pick, so if he doesn't put up 1,000 yards in his rookie season, there's a problem.
Whether you like the pick or not, you can't argue that Mike Williams isn't a good football player. He is. He should quickly become the #2 WR on this team behind (the elite) Keenan Allen, and improves an already strong receiving corps that, if healthy, could be one of the best in the NFL this season. The value might not have been ideal, but that doesn't make it a terrible pick. The Chargers got a lot better - and a lot deeper - by picking Williams at #7 yesterday. I'm excited to see him get to work.