Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams did not have the rookie season anyone would have liked in 2017.
Williams was drafted with the seventh overall selection in the 2017 NFL draft. It was the first time the Chargers had taken a wide receiver in the top-10 of the draft.
(Yes, in the team’s draft history)
After missing all of the off-season programs and training camp as a rookie due to a disc herniation, the Clemson product struggled to settle into the offense during the regular season once healthy. It appeared to me that he was never fully healthy last season. But his lack of performance on Sundays was not solely due to injury.
Back in January, quarterback Philip Rivers seemed to convincingly sum up the rookie year of Mike Williams.
“He never seemed fully, fully comfortable, and I don’t know that it ever just had flow to it, you know, for him,” Rivers said via an article from LA Chargers beat writer Eric D. Williams. “I still think there’s a little bit of thinking that’s going on. It never felt like he was playing free.”
Rivers went on to talk about the importance of the 2018 off-season for Mike Williams in that same article on ESPN.com.
“This offseason will be huge for him,” Rivers said. “I’m excited about Mike. I think he’ll add a lot and bring a great impact to our offense. But this offseason will be huge for him, to get him healthy, all those OTAs, a full offseason program, weight room and running. Mike can add another dimension to our offense.”
Williams finished his rookie year with a paltry 11 receptions for 95 yards. Those numbers are incredibly underwhelming for a first-round pick, but he did miss six regular-season games.
As mentioned above, I am not entirely sure that Mike Williams was actually healthy in 2017. But I feel it’s far more important to take notice of the words of Rivers.
Make no mistake about it, the Chargers’ playbook is not easy to learn for pass-catching targets. When you miss extended time due to injury, keeping you off the field and really learning, the lack of effective play makes perfect sense.
The passing offense for the Bolts is full of option-routes, realignments and position switches for the receiving targets. Within seconds of coming out of the huddle, Rivers may change the position of multiple players. This forces even their most reliable and knowledgeable of targets to learn and know all positions and routes on any given play. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is a solid teacher, and Williams is in good hands with Whiz and the rest of the staff. An adjustment period should be expected for the 23-year-old.
Mike Williams’ success in his sophomore season will depend on a lot of factors. Should he manage to be healthy and involved in all facets of off-season work, we could see what he is capable of at this level.
My concern lies in what could be his lack of ability to separate from NFL defenders. Despite injuries and lack of time in off-season activities, that concern is real.
Williams does a great job of high-pointing the ball and using his body to shield off defenders as he attacks the ball. He was seen to be a threat in the red zone and on third-down situations in college. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, his frame and size lend itself to that being a strength in the NFL.
I think it’s safe to say that Mike Williams will improve in his second year. Improving upon 11 receptions is certainly not too tall a task.
Receiving targets like Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry allow the second-year player time to ease in to the scheme. Though fans want production immediately, expect a slow start for No. 81. Look for Mike Williams to haul in roughly 45 receptions for 490 yards and six scores in 2018. In comparison to his rookie season, those numbers would be a welcomed sight for all.
In conclusion, do not close the book on Williams and declare him a bust.
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When wide receiver Travis Benjamin was acquired during the 2016 free-agency period, Chargers fans everywhere were immediately excited.
Formerly with the Cleveland Browns, Benjamin displayed scorching speed and an ability to take the top off of opposing defenses, despite having a plethora of quarterbacks slinging him the rock.
His addition to the Chargers’ receiving corps was a coup, as the team already featured No. 1 wideout Keenan Allen, veteran Stevie Johnson, an up-and-comer in Tyrell Williams, a serviceable option in Dontrelle Inman and tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry. The team also had Danny Woodhead coming out of the backfield, along with Melvin Gordon, as well. (Woodhead has since moved on to the Baltimore Ravens while Johnson remains unsigned)
It goes without saying, the team made sure that the weapons surrounding veteran signal-caller Philip Rivers were plentiful, but then, well, you know what happened: the injury bug decided that it would make the Bolts’ last season in San Diego much like the last several, injury-riddled.
Allen went down in the first game of the regular season after making Marcus Peters look like a 38-year-old Booga Peters (I can’t cover the bread with jelly, much less an NFL receiver the caliber of No. 13). This put more pressure on the rest of the pass-catchers, including Benjamin.
The Chargers and general manager Tom Telesco were aggressive in securing the addition of the former Miami Hurricane during the 2016 offseason, signing him to a lucrative four-year, $24 million contract, with a $5 million signing bonus while $13 million was received in guaranteed money.
Well, 47 receptions with 677 receiving yards and four touchdowns later, and, why not, some injury issues, the speedy receiver finished the 2016 campaign with underwhelming numbers.
I have no doubt that Benjamin would agree with me on that.
Moving on to this offseason and preparations for 2017.
With the team’s 2017 first-round selection (former Clemson WR Mike WIlliams) possibly being placed on reserve-injured for the season, and the uncertainty of whether or not KA13 can stay healthy for an entire season, the Chargers’ offense needs Benjamin to be in tip-top shape.
According to his words on the team’s official website, he’s feeling good, and ready to get out there and display his full playmaking ability.
“It feels good to be myself,” Benjamin told Chargers.com. “This whole offseason I was being myself in the weight room. Being myself while rehabbing. Now I’m being myself on the field. I wanted to come back stronger and showcase my talent. Just make sure I’m the best I can be during training camp.”
If Benjamin is in fact healthy and himself, as he mentions above, he adds a dynamic element that the Bolts haven’t had for quite some time.
Do not forget, Benjamin tied for the league-lead in plays over 40 yards… with Tyrell Williams.
He is an electric runner with the ball in his hands, able to outrun most players in the NFL, and his route-running is criminally underrated.
Stat Prediction for Travis Benjamin in 2017:
64 receptions for 981 yards and six touchdowns
Should Benjamin live up to the contract he signed and the expectations of the organization and fans, we could all be witness to some of the most explosive, game-changing plays of the 2017 season.
Needless to say, there are quite a few folks who are hoping for just that; while others, not so much.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The sun finally seems to be shining brighter on the Los Angeles Chargers these days. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung signed with the team in March. The Chargers had a grade-A draft in Philadelphia, littering their lineup with potential day one starters. Veteran safety on-the-rise Tre Boston picked L.A. over the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers just a few days ago.
Now the news was released Tuesday that star wide receiver Keenan Allen participated in OTA (offseason training activities) workouts. Allen was lost for the season in the first regular season game last September to a torn ACL in his right knee. His injury spearheaded a domino effect in which the Chargers lost starters for the year nearly every week of the season.
Allen was back on the field snagging passes and according to multiple reports, looking very fit. Tuesday marked the first time rookies and veterans shared the field together. Chargers players and coaches got a glimpse of their future as Allen and their first-round draft pick WR Mike Williams stood on the field together. Williams did not participate in the workouts due to back pain. Aside from a large knee brace, Allen looked his normal speedy self as he participated at full speed in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
At long last, long-suffering Chargers fans have a lot to look forward to with a new regime, new city, a great draft and a healthy roster headed into camp. Knock on wood….
The Greg One
Exactly two weeks ago the Los Angeles Chargers made Clemson Tigers’ wide receiver Mike Williams their first round draft pick. On Thursday, May 11, they signed their 6-foot-4, 218-pound stud to 4-year deal worth $19.75 million dollars with a $12.5 million signing bonus.
The Chargers’ brass seemed to have learned their lesson from the saga that was last year’s Joey Bosa holdout. The star defensive end held out over contract language and bonus payouts. Bosa eventually signed two weeks after training camp began and that led to him missing the first four games of the season.
There will be no such story this year as Williams becomes the eighth player taken in the first round to sign on the dotted line. Williams is already in Los Angeles preparing for camp. He went to Twitter and posted this shot of the happy moment when pen met paper.
— Mike Williams (@darealmike_dub) May 11, 2017
Williams looks to be making the most of his time waiting for camp to begin as Fox Sports: PROcast caught up with him during the recent training session posted below.
You thought @darealmike_dub was gonna take it easy after the draft?!
— FOX Sports: PROcast (@PROcast) May 4, 2017
Congratulations Mike Williams on realizing your dream. Next stop, Offensive Rookie of the Year! Where does this news rank on the excitement meter for you? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Immediately after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft the Los Angeles Chargers set to signing undrafted free agents. In all, 15 players were chosen to come into camp and compete for the opportunity of realizing their dream of making an NFL roster.
The names on this list are largely unfamiliar except to the devoutest college football fans. These are the underdog stories we’ll all root for in hopes they can join the ranks of the Chargers’ legacy of great undrafted free agent triumphs. Look no further than Hall Of Fame bound tight end Antonio Gates and the recently retired wide receiver Malcom Floyd for recent examples.
Here is the Los Angeles Chargers undrafted free agent class of 2017:
CB Brandon Stewart, Kansas
CB Brad Watson, Wake Forest
T Mason Zandi, South Carolina
K Younghoe Koo, Georgia Southern
LB Mike Moore, Kansas State
WR Artavis Scott, Clemson
LB James Onwualu, Notre Dame
WR Andre Patton, Rutgers
WR Dontre Wilson, Ohio State
QB Eli Jenkins, Jacksonville State
LB Nigel Harris, South Florida
RB Austin Ecker, Western State
C Dillon Deboer. Florida Atlantic
CB Michael Davis, BYU
TE Sean Culkin, Missouri
There are a lot of great underdog stories among this group that will be brought to light in upcoming UDFA profiles. Kenkins is a dual-threat quarterback that threw for 2100 yards and eleven touchdowns. He also ran 175 times for 984 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Chargers have never started a ‘mobile’ quarterback. It’s an interesting thought that of all the free agent quarterbacks available, he’s the one they chose. Zandi is a 6″9′-inch, 315-lb. behemoth. Before we get too excited about that prospect, we have to look no further than the recently departed King Dunlap.
The most intriguing prospect and my lock to make the team is Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott. Scott was the wideout lined up opposite the Chargers number one draft pick, WR Mike Williams for three seasons. The 5″10′-inch, 190-lb. Scott was a freshman All-American, first-team All-ACC his sophomore year and second-team All-ACC his junior year. Entering the draft after his junior year, he caught 76, 93 and 76 passes for a combined 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The Chargers have made a conscious effort to foster a more collegiate atmosphere by selecting players that were teammates with existing core players. Cases in point, RB Melvin Gordon and FB Derek Watt (Wisconsin); DE Joey Bosa and LB Joshua Perry (Ohio State); K Josh Lambo and P Drew Kaser (Texas A&M). You’d figure taking such an approach helps the incoming player settle in a little quicker seeing a familiar face; a player they battled side-by-side with and won and lost together.
Now the two starting wide receivers from the reigning collegiate National Championship team arrive at the same time. They undoubtedly have chemistry together and will learn and grow together. The Chargers’ wide receivers room is already very crowded but the potential in bringing Williams and Scott through the ranks together and replicating the magic they had in Clemson is too good to pass up.
I, for one, can’t wait to see it!
Any UDFA’s you’re looking forward to seeing? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The Los Angeles Chargers emerged from last week’s NFL Draft with one of the top-rated draft classes in the league. The rookies have been making their rounds in the media and now have official jersey numbers. Below are the numbers you will find next to their names in your programs for this upcoming season.
WR Mike Williams #7 This is a temporary number he’ll wear through camp. (Williams wore #7 at Clemson). He’ll have to choose an official wide receiver number (10-19 or 80-89) as his NFL number before the regular season begins.
OG Forrest Lamp #77
OG Dan Feeney #66
S Rayshawn Jenkins #33
CB Desmond King #36
OT Sam Tevi #69
DT Isaac Rochell #98
Best of luck to the Los Angeles Chargers draft class of 2017 this season!!
The Greg One
Unlike every other article I write, I am not going to ramble incessantly in this one.
Here are some fan reactions regarding the Los Angeles Chargers’ newest addition in wide receiver Mike Williams.
Teofilo Nikolao Tuiteleleapaga III Initially, it caught me off guard. Reason being i felt we really needed pass rush help to compliment the emergence of Bosa. But, after letting it sink in..i understand the pick. And with more time passed, i actually like it. Could be a true #1 reciever that we’ve lacked in recent years. Big body and leaping ability makes up for his Speed imo. Hes not FAST, but fast enough. Immediate Red Zone threat. Complimented with the presence of Henry, Tyrell and company..he will be an immediate impact player
Gilbert Garcia I like Mike Williams! I think he has a great ability for separation and ability to go up and get balls.
Nick Millican Top 10 talent that fits a need
Terry Coe Jr I don’t understand LAC and their willingness to let Rivers get beat up. I have seen the slide Okung brought to Denver and I had hoped they would bring in some talent for competition. (Love this, btw)
Didier Dubrit I was a little bit afraid of Hooker because of injuries (as any Chargers fan know, if we can avoid injury prone players with all the injuries we already get, that’s a plus).
I was hoping either for DT/DE to complement Bosa and give us a crazy pass rush/run defense, or Williams, who gives a different kind of asset to the receiving corps that Chargers were missing since VJax left.
It would also have been nice if Adams had fallen to us, but that was unlikely.
Overall, I’m happy with the selection. This draft has more impactful defensive players, so I think it’s a good idea to go get the best offensive players when they are still there.
One fan agreed with the other so much, that he replied in this manner:
Brian Kates Dave, take everything Dubrit just said as my words as well……damn near word for word my thoughts. I am happy with Williams considering this draft.
Thomas Powell Defense wins championships. The chargers have holes on dline and in the secondary. By picking a WR they lost the cream of the crop players that are game changers. Another doofus move by the organization and of course applauded by their fanbase.
Daniel Locke NFL teams continue to draft players named Mike Williams without learning their lesson…those who are ignorant of the past are doomed to repeat it.
James Ebo When it comes to the NFL Draft the theory is that it’s supply and demand. The supply of defensive players meets the demand for the Chargers defensive needs. Because of that theory, they can afford to find additions to the defensive side of the ball and with the way the first round played out, there is valuable defensive talent in the early part of the second round. With that being said the selection of Mike Williams signals the future at Wide Receiver for the Chargers. Williams is a power receiver. He’s a red zone, outside the numbers, back shoulder fade, aggressive receiver that the Chargers have lacked since the days of Jackson and Floyd. He creates separation with power, he’s open when he’s not open and attacks the ball in the air better than any receiver in the draft and for that matter on the Chargers WR corps. This selection says that Anthony Lynn wants to implement a physical, power running game offense that’s dominant in the red zone. Grade A-
Eugenio Rodriguez Another big target one more year for Rivers….(V. Jackson, M.Floyd….) Amazing player, he can really catch the football to high level.
Ryan Brosnan VINCENT JACKSON AND RIVERS WILL MEET AGAIN… THATS HOW THIS PICK IS TO ME
Jeff Martin Big physical receiver that will fill the void that was left when Malcom Floyd retired
And then my brother, Will, drops the knowledge we all needed to read.
Will McCafferty I’m fine with the pick. Rivers has been making chicken salad out of chicken shit for years now. Allen is good, but rarely there, due to injury. Maybe putting a second receiver on the field that the defense must account for will take pressure, and some hits, off of Allen.
Personally, I would have gone defense but I like to think that an NFL GM and his teams talent evaluators know more than I do.
People are just having knee-jerk reactions after just one round. They don’t remember a year ago when they were angry with the Bosa pick.
I LOVE THE FANS!!!
P.S. The dudes in the pic are my dudes. Y’all look great.
Now that the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft has been completed, folks everywhere are dishing out hot takes on how they feel about each and every pick — myself included.
In an article on Chargers.com, wide receiver Keenan Allen shared his thoughts on what he’ll tell rookie wideout and first-round draft choice Mike Williams.
Just be you. Come in and play with confidence. Don’t hold anything back and just do what you’ve been doing. Everyone knows what you can do. Just be confident.
Additionally, Allen spoke about adding a weapon like Williams to the mix.
It’s crazy. You add him to me, Tyrell (Williams), Dontrelle (Inman), Travis (Benjamin) plus Antonio (Gates), (Hunter) Henry, Melvin (Gordon); I mean, it’s crazy to defend that. It’s going to open things up for us. We have a lot of threats and different kinds (of receivers). Deep threats. Big guys. Guys who can run everything on the route tree. He is really going to open things up. Anything we can do to make the plays to win the game I’m all for. He’s going to help us.
While I love the sentiment provided by the former Cal Bear, I think it would be fitting if he told Williams, ‘just be healthy and let your play do the talking.’
P.S. Hi, Kyah, Kayden, Carter and Harrison!
As you all know by now, the Los Angeles Chargers used their first-round pick on Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams.
Reactions from both the media and fans have been all over the board.
When it comes to NFL news, I prefer to stick to the network that specializes in covering America’s favorite sport: NFL Network.
Other than Steve Mariucci, Mike Mayock is my favorite cat on NFL Network, with Daniel Jeremiah and Adam Rank fitting in there somewhere, too.
Mayock dropped an article on NFL.com, highlighting his thoughts on each draft choice in the first round, including his take on the newest wide receiver to don lightning bolts.
7. Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Analysis: “Mike Williams is all about separating with length, power and catch radius. He’s a dominating, physical presence. He’s a back-shoulder guy. You’ll love him in the red zone.”
Though his time as an NFL player may be forgotten by most, Mayock knows his shit. He is NOT some Mel-Kiper-Todd-McShay toolbox, looking to make a living off of having very little knowledge of the NFL game. (Don’t @ me)
Initially — yeah, it just happened and I am already adjusting — I was infuriated by the selection, adding a wideout with the squad’s first choice was a bit puzzling.
But, in reality, what do I know?
The Chargers currently have these wideouts on their roster: Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, MIKE WILLIAMS, Da’Ron Brown, Isaiah Burse, Geremy Davis, Javontee Herndon and Jamaal Jones.
With the seventh pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers select Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams.
Below is the reaction of Williams and his family and friends while at Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, per the Twitter account of Janel Klein of NBC Sports.
— Janel Klein (@JanelKlein) April 28, 2017
Despite having receiving options in Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates, general manager Tom Telesco decided that the future is now, selecting Williams out of Clemson with the team’s first-round pick.
There is no doubt that the former Tiger brings an intimidating force in the red zone, but was the first round the right place to snag a wideout?
Only time will tell.
The kid has phenomenal size and ability, don’t get me wrong.
My concern lies in the fact that if quarterback Philip Rivers doesn’t have time to take advantage of all of his weapons, including Williams, all of the offensive toys in the world can’t help the Bolts win games.
(No, they shouldn’t have taken an offensive lineman in Round No. 1.)
One thing worth watching: It will be interesting to see how the wide receiving corps shakes out once final cuts come in August. Perhaps Telesco decides that either — or both — Benjamin or Inman is expendable due to the drafting of a top-tier wide receiver.
Benjamin, signed by the Chargers during the 2016 offseason, was incredibly disappointing as a returner, and didn’t flash much as a receiver in his first year with the team. Inman, despite how much I like him as a player and a person, might be J.A.G. (just a guy) when it comes to filling out an NFL team’s roster, though he seemed to be a trusted target of the aforementioned Rivers last season.