A lot of fans are confused with the Los Angeles Chargers 1st Round pick, Mike Williams, in the 2017 NFL Draft. Frankly, I don't blame them. There are tons of questions with this franchise. The Chargers are set at the wide receiver position, no? Why did LA pass up on the next Ed Reed (Malik Hooker) or failed to add to the defensive line? Are the Chargers now going all in with Rivers? I thought they were supposed to be rebuilding, right?
Let me first say, I do not believe Mike Williams was the correct selection for the Chargers. I felt like LA should have continued building on their strength, the defense and select Jonathan Allen. That being said, I now ask myself, if Williams wasn’t the right pick, does that make him a bad pick?
The answer is no, Mike Williams is not a bad pick for the Chargers. In fact, he is a real good pick for LA. There were other teams that had a worse first round in the NFL Draft than the Chargers. Teams like the Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Vikings, Patriots, and Rams all had worse selections than the Chargers in round 1 (the last 3 were sarcasm). So let’s explore why Mike Williams was a good pick for the Chargers even though he wasn't the right pick.
IT WAS A GOOD DRAFT STRATEGY
It was widely known this will be a really talented and deep defensive draft. Then why did 8 out of the first 12 teams select an offensive player? Because they were smart. Teams like the LA Chargers wanted to get their offensive targets early in the draft because they knew the defensive talent in the later rounds would be much better than the offensive talent. So it seems like Anthony Lynn and Tom Telesco want to address their offensive needs early in the draft and then take advantage of this deep defensive draft class in the later rounds. A lot of teams seem to be implementing that strategy and if that trend continues, it pushes a lot of good defensive talent down the board. Translation, there will be a lot of good defensive players (who probably shouldn’t be) there for LA in rounds 3 and 4.
MIKE WILLIAMS IS A GOOD FIT FOR THE CHARGERS
The Chargers ranked 21st last year in red zone TD scoring percentage. San Francisco, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Cleveland, all had higher scoring percentages than the Chargers. With a TD scoring percentage of 51.61%, it is no secret why LA lost so many close games last year by 1 score or less. Mike Williams made a killing in the red zone at Clemson during his college career.
Now take a look at the Chargers and their players at the skill position: Mike Williams 6’4”, Tyrell Williams 6’4”, Keenan Allen 6’2”, Hunter Henry 6’6”, and Antonio Gates 6’4”. These are the height measurements of a basketball team. And when they add in Melvin Gordon, it is easy to see how LA plans to turn around their end zone scoring woes.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WIDE RECEIVER IS AN IMMEDIATE AND FUTURE NEED FOR LA
Fans initial knee jerk reaction after the Chargers selected Mike Williams was: “The Chargers are loaded at wide receiver, why do they need another one?” But do the Chargers really have an embarrassment of riches? Take a closer look Chargers fans.
Keenan Allen is really good, but has suffered two season ending injuries in back to back years. When he is on the field, he is great, but the problem is his availability. It is a corny cliché but a true one, “The best ability is availability.” So if Keenan gets hurt again, that leaves LA with Tyrell Williams (who played real well last year but cannot shoulder the load of a WR 1), Travis Benjamin (who severely under performed in his first year with the Bolts), and Dontrelle Inman (who was inconsistent and disappeared for weeks).
Mike Williams provides one hell of an insurance policy in case Allen goes down again, or Tyrell regresses, or Benjamin proves to be a bust. Lastly, both Tyrell Williams, and Dontrelle Inman are free agents after the 2017 NFL season. So even if the Chargers loose both to free agency, they will still be well off at the wide receiver position with the arrival of Williams this year. So the need for a top wide receiver was probably bigger than what LA fans might have thought.
MIKE WILLIAMS... IS GOOD AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE GOOD!
Anyone can spew out stats to make a player look good. For example, if I wanted to get Chargers fans excited I would rattle off his 2014 and 2016 numbers. In 2014, the former Clemson Tiger caught 57 balls for 1030 yards and 6 touchdowns as a sophomore. In 2016, he proved a lot of doubters wrong as his production increased to 98 receptions, 1361 yards, and 11 touchdowns.
But if you look past the numbers and at the tape, you will still come up with the same conclusion, Mike Williams is good. He has a big body that he uses to box out defenders, not to mention his wide catch radius to haul in passes. Williams is a deep ball and red zone threat. He has excellent body control that helps him high point the 50/50 ball and come down with the catch. The former Tiger does a fantastic job tracking the deep ball and coming down with the contested catch. But Williams is not just a home run hitter. He is also extremely valuable at moving the chains and has tremendous awareness where the sticks are. Lastly, Williams is tough and fearless. After his neck injury, it would be understandable for Williams to shy away from contact and avoid the middle of the field. But that was not the case in 2016. Just look at the National Title Game against Alabama where he constantly went over the middle and absorbed numerous big hits and kept on getting back up. All of these traits will translate well for Williams at the next level.
Fans need not to worry. Mike Williams landed in an ideal spot. He will not be thrown in and forced to produce as a number 1 wide receiver. A lot of the attention will still be focused on Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Melvin Gordon. This will leave a lot of solo coverage for Williams where I think he will absolutely win those battles. and succeed
The naysayers will compare Williams to Laquon Treadwell because of his poor athletic measurements at the combine. However, Williams is in a better situation than Treadwell. Treadwell was supposed to become the Vikings primary passing weapon. He rarely found himself on the field because of his trouble of understanding the playbook.
Mike Williams will have a future Hall of Fame quarterback throwing to him. Rivers makes everyone around him better because he puts his teammates in a position to succeed. How else could anyone explain the success of so many undrafted and mediocre players (Danario Alexander, Eddie Royal, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman). There is no reason to be concerned with Williams, because of the other talent around him, his floor is real high as well as his ceiling.
Fans need to look at the Williams selection from this perspective; it help address a current need for the Chargers, while anticipating the future of the team. The addition of Mike Williams balances exactly what the Chargers have been trying to do over the last couple of years, help go all in for Rivers, while setting them up for the future.
Whoever the future QB of the Chargers will be, they can rest assure they will have a plethora of talent around them to help them succeed right away. With Gordon, Williams, Henry, Allen, and Tyrell, the pressure will not be solely on that young signal caller, which is uncommon. That being said, as I attempt to look at the glass half full with the Chargers; I will say this “incorrect” pick, was a good pick. What say you Bolts fans? Do you all concur? Or was this a waste of a pick?