For the next 8 months, NFL draft experts, Draftniks, fans, and many more will be breaking down film and arguing about who the top prospects are. But for Devy owners, the time is now to decide who the top prospects will be, come February. Most of us know who those top names are at the running back position, but for owners that build around the wide receiver position, it is essential to find that next stud receiver to build their team around.
So who is the top wide receiver of the 2017 draft class??
Most will mention that guy from USC and while he isn’t a bad choice, I am here to tell you who the true #1 wide receiver will be.
That is, none other than, Clemson wide-out Mike Williams…
RsJR wide receiver
6’4” 220 lbs.
DOB: Oct 4th, 1994 (22 years on Draft day)
Mike Williams grew up in South Carolina and attended Lake Marion High School & Technology Center in Santee, South Carolina. He was rated as the 199th player (3rd best in South Carolina) by ESPN before committing to play for the Tigers.
As a freshman, Williams played in all 13 games, while starting in 3 of them. He would end his freshman year with 20 receptions for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns. Entering his sophomore year as a full time starter he finished with 57 receptions for a team leading 1,030 yards and 6 touchdowns. As a result, Williams earned second team All ACC honors by the media and entered the 2015 season as one of the top wide receivers in college football.
In 2015, Williams started and played in only 1 game before suffering a fractured neck after colliding with the goal post on a touchdown catch. Ultimately, Williams was redshirted in 2015 and has since been cleared to play in 2016. He has been named a preseason first team All-American by Phil Steele.
Hands: When talking about what makes Williams so good, you have to start off talking about his hands. Williams possesses some big, strong hands, which is certainly the most important trait for a receiver. As a result of his god given natural abilities Williams is able to make contested catches, the highlight reel catches, and pluck the ball out of the air with ease because of his big mitts.
In this play, you will see Williams dive and stretch out for an overthrown ball. His length plays a huge part in this obviously, but it’s his strong hands that allow him to reel in a normally uncatchable ball.
Here you can see Williams adjust to a pass made towards the sidelines. He is able to stretch out and snatch the ball while keeping one foot down. His strong hands allow him to focus more on getting the foot in bounds and securing the reception for a first down.
Footwork: Williams has some excellent footwork for a wide receiver of his size. He has quick feet that allow him to get around DB’s at the line of scrimmage. He also uses good footwork to adjust to poorly thrown passes.
In this first play, you see Williams (at the top of the screen) showing off his quick feet when breaking down on the hitch route. On top of that, he has to use his fancy footwork to adjust to the throw on the outside.
Here you can see Williams (at the bottom of the screen) use his quick feet to get around the DB with ease at the line of scrimmage.
Quickness: For a guy that is 6’4” and 220 lbs., Williams is shockingly quick. He does a great job of taking advantage of soft coverage by beating DB’s on dig and post routes over the middle, which makes him a nightmare matchup.
At the top of the screen, you can see Williams does a nice job of stacking the DB, while using his quickness to beat him to the middle.
Strength: Williams has incredible strength that helps him win in a number of different ways. First, Williams is able to beat any press coverage thrown his way. He can use his strength to run through any DB that tries to jam him and can also disarm them when they try to pop him at the line.
On this last play, you can see Williams (bottom of the screen) use a blend of all these skills. His footwork and quickness allow him to get on the inside where he then uses his strength to keep the DB from jamming him.
Speed: For all the positives that allow Williams to win, he does lack the top end speed to beat DB’s over the top. At times, he can struggle on “Go” routes when DB’s give him a little cushion, as he lacks the ability to blow past them and must rely on his strength and hands to win at that point.
Route Running: Route running isn’t a huge negative, but more so inconsistency is his weakness. At times he relies on his strength and quickness to win, but at the next level he needs to have crisp routes at a more consistent pace.
In this first gif, Williams (top of the screen) looks to break to the outside, but does a poor job of sinking his hips, which would make the move more fluid. Something we see too often.
*All videos are courtesy of DraftBreakDown.com.
Overall, I believe Williams is an elite wide receiver prospect in this upcoming draft. He has the size, strength, and quickness combo to compete with any defensive back at the next level. He combines that with elite level hands, which will help him win and will aid him in becoming a reliable target in the NFL.
At the end of the day, with continued work on getting faster and becoming more consistent with his route running, Williams could become another Clemson product to make it at the next level and add to the ever growing list of elite former Tiger wide receivers dominating in the NFL.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @_codygarrett.