Los Angeles Chargers add another offensive weapon, draft Clemson WR Mike Williams

By Jay Paris, The Sports Xchange   |   April 28, 2017 at 7:56 AM
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The Los Angeles Chargers were poised to fill one of their needs with the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL draft, looking for help in the secondary and on both sides of the line.

Instead they drafted Clemson's Mike Williams, a wide receiver.

Not just any wide receiver, the Chargers are quick to add, and they're likely right. Williams, an All-ACC pick last year, caught 11 touchdown passes and had 1,361 receiving yards for the national champion Tigers.

The muscular, 6-foot-4, 218-pound Williams will give Philip Rivers an inviting, physical target down field and in the red zone.

The Chargers were seeking a sturdy, springy pass catcher in the mode of Malcom Floyd and, before him, Vincent Jackson. Williams could be the next in the line of long-armed receivers with some brawn.

Like Floyd and Jackson, Williams has the speed to get defensive backs on their heels and the physique to wrestle away the 50-50 balls that Rivers often thrives on.

"It's his playmaking ability," said coach Anthony Lynn, when asked what stood out about Williams. "He has great size, speed, hands, ball skills. And he is tough and he is competitive."

Wide receiver wasn't an area that struck many as one to be addressed in the first round. Then again, maybe it's an indicator that the Chargers are being cautious with current No. 1 wideout Keenan Allen.

The Pro Bowl receiver has missed considerable time the last two seasons with injuries. He's hopeful that he will be ready by training camp after last year's knee injury.

After Allen went down in the 2015 opener, Tyrell Williams, a former undrafted rookie, stepped in and notched a 1,000-yard season. Another young player, Dontrelle Inman, had a solid year as well.

There's also Travis Benjamin, who was brought in for his return skills, too. While those skills never materialized for the Chargers, he was a fairly reliable receiver.

Plus, Antonio Gates is still around. And don't overlook Hunter Henry, a find at tight end in last year's draft.

"When you put (Williams) out there, you give Philip another target," Lynn said.

Of course, the Chargers also have running back Melvin Gordon.

All of that made the drafting of Williams, at a position where the team has depth, a bit of a head-scratcher. That's not a knock of Williams as much as it illustrates the shortcomings of a roster that has won nine games in two years and is switching to a 4-3 alignment on defense.

But those areas will be looked at later. The Chargers passed on beefing up the defense by declining Ohio State safety Malik Hooker and Alabama tackle Jonathan Allen.

Instead it's all-in with an offense that has multiple weapons, with receivers and running backs with different styles.

The Chargers are confident they added one more.

"We feel like we got a really good player," Lynn said. "We just want him to come in, compete and have a role in this offense and help us win football games."

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