Imagine fracturing your neck in a football game, then going out the next year and playing the game again. That’s exactly what happened to Mike Williams on the opening drive of his junior season. On a 4 yard TD grab, Williams collided with the goalpost in a horrific collision which brought his 2015 season to a sudden halt.

The injury didn’t stop Williams from getting back into the action this year. Williams continued to build off his productive sophomore campaign, while solidifying himself as one of the top WRs in this year’s draft class despite the injury concerns.

Name: Mike Williams
Position: WR
Size: 6’3”/217
School: Clemson
Class: Junior (RS)
Draft Grade: Top 15

Positives: Legitimate 6’3” and maybe a little more on top of that. Well-proportioned body. Good arm length and big hands that swallow the football. Has the bulk in his hips, backside and calves that you like to see. Strong upper body with big shoulders. Body has gotten stronger year by year. Solid speed for his size. A fluid lateral mover. Good stop-to-start acceleration for his size. Has the hip flexibility to lean his hips low and gain explosiveness. Glides and weaves through defenses beautifully. A big leaper who can sky for the ball and make acrobatic plays at their ceiling. Can reel in wayward passes with one hand. A very big catch radius. Tracks the deep ball like a center fielder. The type of receiver that is nearly always covered but always open. Has shown improvement running routes and understands the importance of mastering the art. Matches the intensity of physical corners and loves to battle. Very smart use of hands in tight coverage to gain separation and avoids penalties. Uses his long arms to his advantage. Can get chippy after the whistle and doesn’t take kindly to being disrespected. Very aggressive after the catch and won’t go down without a fight. Has a knack for gaining yards after the catch. A consistent, strong blocker who could become frighteningly good with time. The only injury suffered in his life was his neck injury and has been remarkably durable. Took time during his redshirt year to better understand coverages which he knew was his weakness. A simple, hardworking guy. Known for having aggressive practice habits. Has NFL-level WR confidence and the ego is developing. No off-field concerns. Has only started and gotten major playing time in two seasons and has considerable upside and untapped potential.

Negatives: Body needs to continue getting stronger. Didn’t discover the weight room until college. Lacks elite game-breaking speed and agility. Hands are somewhat inconsistent. Sustained a small neck fracture and returned the following year although he was deemed able to play just months later and was held out as a precaution. The extent of the injury is unknown and could possibly cloud him during his combine medical.

Outlook: Mike Williams is this draft’s most natural big receiver. Williams brings the size, physicality, functional athleticism and ball skills you rarely find. As he continues to gain experience and learn the little things he should become one of the top ten at his position in the NFL and be the type of receiver his quarterback can lean on. Williams value is in the top half of the first round.

About The Author Jesse Fritsch

Jesse Fritsch is a Wisconsin native who has spent 11 years independently evaluating NFL draft prospects and following the draft process. He happily spends most of his free time researching players and watching games in his man cave while occasionally coming up for air to share.