The Los Angeles Chargers wasted no time making a splash in the 2017 NFL Draft, utilizing the seventh overall pick of the first round to select high-flying wideout Mike Williams out of Clemson.
The selection of Williams not only provides quarterback Philip Rivers with another weapon, but also boosts a thin receiving corps whose best wideout -- Keenan Allen -- is still recovering from a major injury.
"He's the big body, 6'3", 218-pound guy that ran 4.55, and that's plenty," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock of Williams. "I don't have any speed concerns about him. And I think he's today's NFL's next receiver. He can throw the back shoulder fade, red zone, et cetera, quick slants. I love what he brings from a competitive standpoint to the game."
Williams is a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference who displayed a consistent ability to high-point the ball away from defensive backs. As such, he will instantly help the team's red zone offense, becoming a perfect option on fade routes near the end zone.
Williams played an integral role on the Tigers’ 2016 national championship squad, pacing the team with 98 catches, 1,361 yards, and 11 touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came during Clemson’s BCS-title win over Alabama. Those totals earned him first-team All-ACC accolades.
Williams does come with some health concerns however, as he suffered a season-ending neck injury on Clemson’s first drive of the 2015 season and ended up taking a redshirt year before returning for 2016.
In total, Williams played a little more than three seasons for the Tigers (42 games with 30 starts), collecting 177 catches for 2,727 yards while hauling in 21 touchdown passes. He was a second-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore in 2014 after catching 57 passes for a team-leading 1,030 yards and six scores.
In other 2017 NFL Draft news . . .
The Cleveland Browns selected athletic defensive end Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, marking the first time in Texas A and M history that a player was chosen first overall. Garrett became the sixth Texas A and M player to be selected in the top 10 since 2011.
"If you compare him to Von Miller who came out of the same college four or five years ago, this kid has the same explosion off the ball, the same bend, the ability to pressure a quarterback," said Mayock. "And he's 20 pounds heavier."
North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was selected by the Chicago Bears with the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft and Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes was chosen with the tenth overall pick by Kansas City, both becoming the first quarterback from their respective schools selected in the first round.
Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson, who was selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall pick, became the second first-round quarterback in school history.
In a surprise move, the Tennessee Titans selected Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick, the highest draft pick in school history.
Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette (fourth overall, Jacksonville) and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (eighth overall, Carolina) were both selected within the first ten picks of the 2017 NFL Draft, the first time two running backs were selected in the top 10 since 2005. Fournette became the fourth LSU running back selected in the opening round since 1967, while McCaffrey became the third Stanford running back chosen in the first round.
Alabama's O.J. Howard (19th overall, Tampa Bay), Mississippi's Evan Engram (23rd overall, New York Giants), and Miami's David Njoku (29th overall, Cleveland) were all selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, tying the mark for the most tight ends chosen in the first round.
Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 30th overall pick. Watt and his brother J.J., who was the 11th overall selection in 2011, became the eighth pair of brothers since 1990 to be selected in the first round of their respective NFL Drafts.
Two local defensive players, UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley and USC cornerback Adoree' Jackson, were also drafted in the first round, by Atlanta and Tennessee, respectively.
The Dallas Cowboys sought to upgrade their defensive line, selecting Taco Charlton out of Michigan.
The Los Angeles Rams did not have a first round pick this year due to last season's trade for Jared Goff.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services