Mike Williams Pre-Draft Fantasy Profile

Mike Williams WR

Mike Williams Profile

Around this time in 2014, the Buffalo Bills had 7 players with the last name of Williams on their roster. Many pointed out that since Bill is short for William and suggested that the team should have been called by its long name, the Buffalo Williams. They even had a WR named Mike Williams who played at Syracuse. Now, Bills fans are hoping that the tradition lives on, and the team will draft Clemson wideout Mike Williams, and reunite him with Clemson alum Sammy Watkins. Whether this happens or not, this Mike Williams will make an intriguing draft pick in this year’s NFL draft and put his name on the radar for upcoming fantasy owners.

Last season with Clemson, Williams caught 84 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns to help the Tigers win the national title. He’s physically imposing, athletic and has tremendous speed. Despite being young, Williams does not catch passes with his body. Instead, he goes up and snags them out of the air, making opposing defensive back’s job even more difficult. His size not only makes him difficult to cover before catching passes but after the catch as well. Williams has a knack for making the opposition miss in the open field and is able to run through arm tackles with ease. There are a few things that Williams is going to have to improve on for the NFL The first is dropped passes. He had far too many in 2016. Williams was better late in the year, but he needs to improve his hands to be a truly productive NFL receiver. He also needs to improve his route-running for the next level. Williams will struggle to separate from some pro cornerbacks, as many will be able to run with him. He won’t challenge these corners with speed as a deep burner. It also will be harder to complete 50-50 passes against them because they’re bigger and much better than the corners Williams typically faced in the ACC. Despite those concerns, Williams projects to be a Mike Evans-type weapon for his an offense. He could be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver depending on the system and quarterback he goes to. Williams should be able to play quickly, and his size and leaping ability should provide plenty of mismatches.

A wide receiver is what over 50% of mock drafts are thinking for Buffalo, but with new head coach Sean McDermott it’s a bit more difficult to project what direction he may want to go, especially as a coach coming from the defensive side of the ball. Williams may end up being a better player in reality than for fantasy. With Tyrod Taylor as his quarterback and Sammy Watkins lining up as the other wideout, his numbers in Buffalo may not be the stuff of fantasy legends but would make the Bills offense much better. However, his physical presence would make for an excellent red zone target. Regardless Bills fans are hoping that Williams could be a factor in leading their team back to the playoffs for the first time in a really long time. One Bills fan told me it feels like their last playoff appearance coincides with the famous Anchor Bar’s creation of Buffalo style Chicken Wings. Another team that seems interested in Mike Williams that would help elevate his fantasy numbers is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have tried in the past to find a big, red-zone receiver, but haven’t successfully drafted one. Quarterback Joe Flacco would do well with a stronger threat than just a bunch of speedy receivers. Last year the  Ravens were about as average as you can get. The team was No. 17 in the league in offense and scored only 22 points more than they gave up on the season. The Ravens passing was No. 24 in the league and veteran Steve Smith Sr. retired. It has even been suggested that Baltimore might move up in the draft in fear of other teams like Buffalo taking Williams. He would make an excellent fit in Baltimore and on fantasy teams. Another intriguing option for a landing place for Williams would be the Cleveland Browns. With the Browns losing Number 1 wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to free agency, he’s a young playmaker that the Browns need. Pryor was fantasy relevant on a dismal Browns team last year and Williams should do well on a rebuilding team that should improve from last year. The Tennesse Titans have also shown some interest and having a young and upcoming talent like Marcus Mariotta would be good for the team and for both of their fantasy numbers. The Eagles and Bengals have been mentioned as possible destinations for the Clemson wideout, and his playmaking abilities would be good for these teams and for his fantasy numbers. Regardless of where he ends up, his physical tools and his solid pass catching ability will make him a red zone target wherever he ends up and will make Mike Williams a solid member of any owner’s fantasy team.

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