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Spotlight: Mike Williams

posted by Chris Smith on Aug 2nd


Chris Smith's thoughts

The 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, Mike Williams had three miserable seasons in the NFL with Detroit, Oakland and Tennessee. He had just 44 receptions in those combined seasons and a paltry two touchdowns. He disappeared from the NFL into oblivion and his legacy was being known as one of the greatest draft busts of all time. What went wrong? Williams had great size, and was skilled, but was wasn't fit, in fact he was overweight, and simply couldn't get separation against NFL caliber defensive backs.

When the Seattle Seahawks picked Williams off the trash heap and brought him in for training camp, the majority of football fans scoffed and ridiculed move. This was simply a college coach trying to throw his former collegiate star a bone, right? Yet, training camp reports indicated Williams was in shape for the first time in his NFL tenure, and was standing out in drills. Yet skepticism reigned. Camp reports were one thing, but surely the wheels would fall off come the regular season as they always did before.

Even as he started the season earning playing time, it still seemed a matter of time before it all unraveled. He caught 11 passes in the first four games but failed to score a touchdown. There were some rumblings that this experiment may be a short lived one. However, beginning in Week Five against the Bears, for the first time in his career, something clicked within him. Williams looked explosive, talented and - dare we say - almost unstoppable at times, catching 10 passes for 123 yards. When Williams followed that up with an 11-catch, TD performance against the Falcons, the doubters finally began to buy into his turnaround.

When the dust settled on the 2010 season, Williams didn't have monster numbers. But 65 receptions for 751 yards and 2 TDs was respectable, and set the table for an important role in the 2011 Seahawks as they continue rebuilding.

Why Mike Williams is no one-year wonder:

His conditioning finally matches his talent: The reason why Mike Williams was such a disaster as a young player is that his conditioning was horrible. Everything came too easy for him from a young age and he never developed the practice tools he needed to thrive at the NFL level. He needed time away to realize the opportunity he had ruined for himself. Getting committed to nutrition and conditioning changed the game. At 6'5", Williams is a very difficult player to cover underneath or on fade patterns.

Sidney Rice is going to command attention on the other side of the field: Some people may view this as a reason to downgrade Williams, but I disagree. Last year there was no receiver on the team capable of drawing attention away from Williams once he emerged as a threat. He will be better served to have defenses sliding coverage towards Rice, allowing Williams to find open spaces and to face single coverage the majority of the time.

Williams is motivated: "BMW" has already seen the downside of having a poor attitude and work ethic. He was already out of football and living the regular run-of-the-mill life that the majority of the world lives. Being a part of a team at the NFL level is a privilege that some players do not realize they are blessed with until it is ripped from them. Williams has already found out the hard way that you need to work your tail off to be an elite athlete.

Positives

  • Great size and body control make him difficult to cover in underneath routes
  • In the best shape of his life
  • Having Sidney Rice on board will take defensive focus away from him

Negatives

  • Does not have great speed
  • Uncertainty at the Seahawks quarterback position
  • Until he puts in good second season there is worry of last season being a fluke

Final thoughts

Mike Williams' return to football was one of the finest stories of the 2010 campaign. Nobody saw it coming and even in training camp, it felt like a balloon that was about to burst at any moment. However, he put together a solid campaign and appears locked into a starting role. He will likely never be an elite receiver but if Sidney Rice is healthy and Tarvaris Jackson can elevate his play, Williams is capable of an 800-yard, 5 touchdown performance in 2011.


Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

5 Rings said:

There was nothing dynamic about Williams last year.

I think a renewed commitment to the ground game with Lynch for a whole season means less targets to go around.

I think Tate will continue to develop in his 2nd season and take more of BMW's targets as well.

I think the QB play will decline--yes, that is possible--from last season.

I'm selling.

mcintyre1 said:

He's stated that he's doing 5 hours of cardio a day to stay in shape, and during the season he was quoted as saying essentially "I'll never allow myself to get fat again, its not worth it." I wouldn't worry about his conditioning.

I think BMW will emerge as more of a redzone threat in the coming season, as he's certainly got the size and ball skills to be effective in jump ball situations. I'm looking at numbers in the 75/920/8 range.

FF Ninja said:

In only 14 games he mustered 65/751/2. Add in his two playoff games and you get a 16 game clip that comes in at 74/834/5. With so many decent QBs out there looking for a home, I feel like it is reasonable for Seattle to do better than Whitehurst but they did trade a 3rd for him, so if the price is too high for another QB they just might try to prove they didn't waste a draft pick, but I think they know better. For now I'm going to assume the Hass is back or a guy of equivalent talent takes his spot. The three TDs in the two playoff games kind of gives you hope that BMW could emerge as the red zone threat he sure appears suited to be (4 of his 5 TD were <10 yds). If the team can find a way to move the ball then he could cash in. But that remains to be seen, although they did get a new OC and draft two offensive linemen. With an ADP of 94 (WR34) I feel like he presents a lot of value and should outplay a low-end WR3 draft status.


Mike Williams projections

RECRECYDRECTDRSHYDRSHTD
Chris Smith61745500
Message board consensus71849600