Today, we take a look at one of the gems of the San Diego Chargers 2016 undrafted free agent class, wide receiver Dominique Williams. Williams is one of the most prolific receivers in PAC-12 history, finishing seventh in league history with 30 touchdown catches over his four-year career at Washington State University.
The 6’2″, 198-pound Williams enters the NFL on the heels of a stellar 2015 season at WSU as he caught 75 passes for 1,040 yards and 11 touchdowns. Every single season from his freshman year through his remarkable 2015 senior season, Williams increased his receptions, yards and touchdowns.
The native of Pomona, CA ranks third in Washington State history in receptions (190), and second in career yards (2,889) and touchdowns (30). At WSU’s Pro Day, Williams ran the 40-yard dash in a sizzling 4.39 and 4.41 seconds, posted a 40.5-inch vertical jump and broad jumped 10 feet, 5-inches. His 40-time and vertical jump scores would both have been the second-best scores at the NFL Combine among wide receivers.
Check out the video below highlighting Williams’ phenomenal 2015 season.
So why wasn’t this man drafted?
For as much success as he had on the field, the system he played in was also a knock on him. In Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, Williams didn’t run a great array of routes. One scouting site said he’s prone to lapses in concentration. That claim gains further credibility when you consider the fact that over his four seasons, he dropped 20 passes and had an 11.8% drop rate according to NFL.com.
System. Drops. Questions about the route tree. These are all issues that can be corrected with proper coaching. To be issues that get you excluded from the draft altogether borders on lunacy in my opinion.
It certainly seems that the positives far outweigh the negatives. The Chargers may have again struck gold in the undrafted free agent talent pool with the signing of Williams. We’ll know more very soon as the start of training camp closes in.
The Bolts needed more speed at the wide receiver position. The signing of free agent wide receiver Travis Benjamin was a major boost to the offense in that respect. If Williams can translate his college success onto the field at Chargers Park, they then will have not one but two speed burners who can take the top off the defense and open the field for Philip Rivers.
After that, the possibilities are endless.
So there you have it Chargers fans, one more player to watch and root for in hopes he can aid in the revival of the vertical passing attack. From one Williams to another, I’m definitely pulling for the rookie in scarlet and gray to translate into Charger blue and gold. If he shows up with lightning in his legs and a chip on his shoulder, I have a good feeling we’ll be hearing his name on gameday Sunday for many years to come.
Follow Dominique on Twitter: @Domwill80
Best of luck, Mr. Williams.
The Greg One
As soon as they hung up the phone after the seventh round selection in the NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers busily started making calls to sign their undrafted free agent class. Twenty players have been signed to compete for roster spots. Here is the full list.
Mike Berkovici QB, Arizona State
Terrell Chestnut CB, West Virginia
Kenneth Farrow RB, Houston
Tyler Johnstone OT, Oregon
Sebastian Johansson G, Marshall
Jamaal Jones WR, Montana
Chris Landrum OLB, Jacksonville State
Mike McQueen G, Ohio
Adrian McDonald S, Houston
Tyler Marcordes OLB, Georgia Tech
Spencer Pulley C, Vanderbilt
Shaq Pettway LB, West Virginia
Zeth Ramsay OT, Colorado Mesa
Deandre Reaves WR, Marshall
Jay Rome TE, Georgia
Larry Scott CB, Oregon State
Chris Swain RB, Navy
Dominique Williams WR, Washington State
Trevor Williams CB, Penn State
Carlos Wray DE, Duke
Unless you’re a college football aficionado most of these names are unfamiliar but there are a handful of names here to keep an eye on. Living in Phoenix, I have seen Mike Berkovici in person and he is a great story of hard work and perseverance. Instead of transferring schools when ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly was getting all the on-field time, Berkovici stayed true to his team and supported Kelly. After finally getting his starting opportunity when Kelly was injured at the beginning of the 2014 season, Berkovici led the Sun Devils to a 5-1 record including hanging a 510-yard, 5-touchdown game on USC on the road. Check out the clip below of the 2016 Cactus Bowl shootout against West Virginia.
Berkovici had a breakout season in 2015 where he took over the reins for the departed Kelly. Last season he went 318-531 for 3,855 yards, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also ran for 347 yards and 6 touchdowns. Berkovici had three games last season where he threw for 395 yards or more. In each he had at least four touchdowns. I was in attendance when ASU hosted the Oregon Ducks in what turned into a 61-55 3-overtime shootout. Berkovici went 32-53 for 398 yards and 5 touchdowns in a controversial loss.
Calling my shot here. Berkovici will make the team.
Another diamond in the rough could be Adrian McDonald out of Houston. Semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award (given to the top defensive back), McDonald (5″11′, 205 lbs.) is a playmaker and legitimate ball hawk, swiping 17 interceptions over his career at Houston.
San Diego is determined to make sure the center position is solidified this season not only with the selection of Max Tuerk in the third round but by adding Pulley in the undrafted free agent class. With his great size (6″4′, 300 lbs.) and obvious mastery of his technique (35 pancake blocks in 2015), this will be a position battle to watch this offseason.
The future is looking a lot brighter than it did a week ago.
What do you think Boltfam? Leave your thoughts below.
The Greg One