PRO 2017 Dynasty Rookie Spotlight: Mike Williams, WR Clemson

Mike Williams, WR Clemson

Height: 6’3 5/8″
Weight: 218
Arm: 33 3/8″
Hand: 9 3/8″

40-time: 4.55 range (pro day)
NFL Comparison: Davante Adams, Laquon Treadwell

– doesn’t seem to have the jets on him to burn anyone with long-speed but can operate with an above-average quickness through cuts for a big wideout; is elusive enough after-catch thanks to size, strength and fearlessness – he’s a load for a DB to take down once he has a head of steam upfield

– has trouble separating from fast, shifty corners; has adapted his game to be very strong (in fact, probably the best in this class) at winning in contested-ball situations

– an end-zone threat any time a college football team is within striking distance

– has the ability to be effective and sometimes even fairly beastly as a blocker on the edge; not a diva who is afraid of contact or who goes half-speed when he knows the ball is going away from him; gives his DB a good look on most every snap

– has shown in a few instances that he can get in trouble with his balance and technique into a stem when jammed and re-routed from the press to the transition-point; would like to see such a physically strong and bruising player in other attributes of his game flex some more muscle and be more disciplined in spots like this …

– with the understanding that there are many aspects of his routes that Williams will need to work on, there is no denying the fact that two plays later, Williams can win in a different kind of one-on-one situation like this …

– had a big RS junior season after missing his entire sophomore season following a Week 1 neck injury; he collided with a goalpost on Clemson’s first drive of the season, scoring a TD but also causing a fracture in the neck; all reports are that his combine medicals came back fine

– went pro after foregoing senior season; elected not to run the 40 at the combine citing the extended length of Clemson’s season as advancers in the college football playoff; there are slight concerns about Williams’ speed a la 2016 Laquon Treadwell and he’s not expected to test explosively by most scouts in the 40

– took part in the broad and vertical jumps where he fell right in line with recent historical averages among WRs in the broad (10’1″) and just under in the vertical (32.5″)

– finished No. 15 (of 52 wideouts graded) in our 2017 WR on-field testing scores from inside the 2017 combine – a real accomplishment for a bigger receiver as those body types have traditionally been more lumbering and less smooth in and out of breaks; tied for the best average score in the post-corner route specifically which was predictable given his ability to track, adjust to, and attack deep balls as evidenced on film

– like Mike Evans a few years back, Williams has told the media previously that his favorite sport is actually basketball and not football; you can see some Mike Evans in Williams’ game and the ex-basketball player coming through with the way he positions himself to box out defenders where he wins the most — which is in contested-ball and high-point situations

– when he’s not forced to “go up and get” the football, he’ll often let it come into his body; not a consistent natural snatcher of the football in open-field situations and it led to some drops in the 2016 season


It’s clear that Williams has all the tools to be a terrific receiver at the NFL level with development. There are parts of his game that will frustrate NFL coaching staffs to start, but that is the case with nearly all rookies. Where Williams wins is in the places we covet most as fantasy owners, though. That is, in clutch situations for his QB and – most importantly – in red-zone and goal-to-go situations for jump-balls and back-shoulder pylon routes. If Williams lands in a situation with an experienced QB and an opportunistic offensive coordinator, we could see Williams having an immediate impact at the NFL level and being instantly relevant even in 2017 redraft formats.

Given his perceived lack of true “burner” speed and rawness in his route-running ability, the team-fit will certainly go a long way in gauging Williams’ eventual dynasty value. For pre-NFL draft purposes, we certainly view Williams as in the conversation with Corey Davis as the best overall long-term prospect in the 2017 draft, but have fewer concerns about Davis’ overall game. Williams is worth a early-to-mid first-round pick in early dynasty rookie drafts with room to move to the top of the round (and also fall more toward the end of it) depending on his eventual landing spot.

From the Clemson Athletic Department:

2016: Second-team All-American by Phil Steele, SB Nation and Walter Camp … first-team All-ACC (media, coaches) … team leader in receptions (98), receiving yards (1,361) and receiving touchdowns (11) … second-most receptions and third-most receiving yards in a season in Clemson history … played 706 snaps over 15 games (15 starts) … had five 100-yard efforts … showed he was back to full strength in return to action at Auburn, where he netted 174 yards on nine catches … posted six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown at Georgia Tech … posted five catches for 70 yards, including key 20-yard score in the fourth quarter of dramatic win over No. 3 Louisville … hauled in touchdown and added a spectacular 50-yard diving catch at Boston College … posted career-high 12 catches for 146 yards, with a touchdown, in overtime triumph against NC State … led Tigers with seven receptions at Florida State, for a total of 70 yards … posted six catches for 106 yards against Syracuse, with a touchdown … posted top career game with 15 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown in one-point loss to Pittsburgh … his 15 grabs were second-most in a game by a Tiger, following only the 16 by Sammy Watkins in the 2014 Orange Bowl against Ohio State … the 202 yards tied Watkins for second-most in a game … named ACC Receiver-of-the-Week for his efforts … had a touchdown catch and 58 total yards to surpass 1,000 for the season at Wake Forest … posted six receptions for 100 yards against South Carolina, half of which went for touchdowns to tie a Clemson single-game record … posted five catches for 57 yards in the ACC Championship win over Virginia Tech … had six grabs for 96 yards in Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State, and followed with eight catches and 94 yards in the National Championship win over Alabama … caught a touchdown against the Crimson Tide and played pivotal role on final drive, jump-starting the Tigers with a leaping catch in Alabama territory.

Quotable from the combine:

(question about how he felt he fared in the championship game)

“It was a big game. I felt like I had a great game. Just went out there to compete with my teammates, we came out victorious.”

(Difference between 2015 and 2016 ending)

“Last year we didn’t know what it takes to win a national championship. Coming back this year, we knew what it took. We had experience in our quarterback and the rest of the offense to redeem ourselves.”

(Relationship with Sammy Watkins, would it be cool to play in Buffalo)

“Me and Sammy, we communicate sometimes. We have the same agents, we kind of communicate through them. It’d be great just to team up with Sammy again, play on the same team.”

(inaudible, about neck injury in 2015 opener that caused him to miss rest of season).

“Just sitting out last year, it was a tough moment for me. To come back this year and just have fun with my teammates was a great experience.”

(How did doctors here see his neck situation)

“I’m good, I’m healthy.’

(was he worried?)

“Nah, nah, I wasn’t worried about that. I visited with the doctors every week after I got my injury, and I was just hearing great news, so I was just keeping everything positive.”

(Another Sammy Watkins question, what he took from Watkins)

“Probably just work ethic, seeing him every day competing in practice. I just looked up to him, continued to do what he did when he left. I just kept the Wide Receiver U thing going.”

(Staying focused in championship game)

“Our coaches are going to make the best playcalls for us, we just execute the plays, and that’s what we were doing all season.”

(will he run the 40 here?)

“Nah, I’ll wait’til my pro day (March 16).”

(why not?)

“Long season. Haven’t had much time to prepare for it, so I’m going to take this week and next week to prepare for it, and run it at my pro day.”

(who are his influences)

“I take stuff from every receiver in the NFL, A.J. Green, Antonio Brown … I just try to make everybody’s game part of mine.”

(About prepping for 40)

“I was doing a couple of drills. You only run the 40 once, ever, in your life. You always be running routes. I was just focusing on what I’m going to be doing for a long time.”

(will a poor 40 hurt him?)

“I don’t think so, at all. Jerry Rice didn’t run a fast time. Antonio Brown didn’t run a fast time. He’s the highest-paid receiver in the league right now. It’s all about just playing football if you look at it at the end of the day.”

(what separates him from other WRs in class)

“Just the competition we face every week at Clemson. We play a lot of great DBs, a lot of great teams … the coaches we have at Clemson, I feel like we learn from some of the best.”

(his skillset)

“I’m a big, physical receiver. I can go get the deep ball, I’m going to block on the edge. I just do it all in one.”

(Important to be first receiver drafted?)

“I want to go where somebody wants me. I feel like I’m one of the best receivers there, but I want to go where somebody wants me.”

(Would like to play with AJ Green.) (What he learns from other receivers)

“I watch everybody. I take a lot of stuff from different receivers, whether they’re Alshon, A.J. Green, Julio, Odell … I just take little things from different receivers.”

(secret to being so good at contested balls)

“Just the confidence that I have, from practice. I just believe if the ball is in the air, it’s mine. That’s just confidence gained from practice and just going out there every day having fun.”

(Is this something that can be taught)

“You can work on it, but I feel like it’s something that just naturally happens sometimes – reactions.”

(Boundary catches)

“That’s mainly what I practice at Clemson is the boundary. It’s a small amount of field over there, when you’re on that boundary. You just have to be physical over there and work a lot of technique.”

(Meeting with Bears tonight.)

“I’m going to talk to them and see if I can form a bond with them.”

(Aftermath of neck injury)

“I was never scared of going across the middle after my injury. I was confident in what the doctors were telling me.”

(does he think he’s the best WR)

“I believe so. If you’re here and don’t believe you’re the best at your position, I don’t know why you’re here. I feel like everybody should think they’re the best at their position.”

(what makes him the best)

“Just how I attack the game. I come out and compete every day and have fun. Compete with some of the best in the ACC, played against some of the best this year, who y’all have some of the best-rated cornerbacks in Humphries and Lattimore, so I mean, just experience and things like that.”

(Did he think he was seriously injured when he ran into goalpost on first series of 2015 opener against Wofford, ending his season)

“Nah, I knew I was going to be all right. I actually wanted to get up and walk off the field, but the doctors told me to stay down there, so I just went with what they were saying.”

(South Carolina game)

“South Carolina was a great game, big rivalry. We just wanted to go out there and compete and just dominate those guys, because that’s something you talk about forever.”

(Was that his best game)

“Nah, I wouldn’t say that was my best game. I’d probably say Pitt was my best game.”

(Best DBs he faced)

“I would probably say Alabama DBs were good and the Ohio State DBs were good. They were probably the best two secondaries we faced this year.”

(can Clemson sustain success)

“Clemson has the top recruiting class every year. Replacing us, it’s going to be pretty easy for ’em.”

(Meeting with Dallas tonight)

“They’ve got Dez Bryant … That’d be good, too.”


“They got AJ, they have a great quarterback to get him the ball. We’ll see what happens.”

(what makes DeShaun Watson good)

“He just knows where everybody’s going to be at the right time. He’s poised in the pocket and he makes great decisions, and he just plays well under pressure.”

(something about Watson)

“We knew all season DeShaun Watson was the best player in the country. We knew we had the best player in the country on our team.”

(does he know about the previous Mike Williamses)

“I’ve heard about them, but I really didn’t watch ’em like that. I’ll be the next one, the best one.”

(How about Calvin Johnson)

“Calvin Johnson, he’s one of the greats, one of the best to ever do it. Seeing him leave the game, it was hard, but what he did for the game was special.”

(Meeting with the Titans tonight)

“I have like 10 meetings tonight. It’s going to be a long night. I’m just looking forward to those meetings and getting to know those coaches.”

(Is he the most famous person in Vance,SC)

“Probably, I would say so. It’s just small. Not too many people go to college or even make it out. I’m just one of the few, trying to set an example for the kids back home in Vance, and just show them that you can go to college, graduate, and just chase your dreams.”

(best attribute)

“Probably my physicality. Coming from a program like Clemson, competing with the best every day. Going to the league, it’s going to be different, but I feel like I’m ready for it.”

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