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Mike Williams Player Profile

The Los Angeles Chargers selected Mike Williams with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chargers initially drafted him to be a complement to star receiver Keenan Allen, particularly due to their different skillsets. Compared to Allen’s route running and explosive cuts, Williams provided a big target with a wide catch radius, perfect to be a deep threat to Allen’s move-the-chains playstyle.

Williams recently received a huge contract from the Chargers, to the tune of $60 million over three years. But why did Williams receive such a huge payday from the Bolts? What are his strengths and weaknesses? This is the Mike Williams player profile.


Large Frame

Mike Williams showing size

Mike Williams is a towering receiver, allowing him to utilize his size to make physical catches. (via NFL)

Large frames are always a desired trait for wide receivers. And Mike Williams is a towering figure, standing at 6’4 and weighing 218 pounds. According to MockDraftable, this puts his height in the 91st percentile, and his weight in the 85th percentile, among all active wide receivers. With an arm length of 33 and 3/8ths inches, his arm length is also in the 86th percentile.

These percentiles put him among the elite at the wideout position in terms of sheer size. With a large frame, Williams’s catch radius is a great boon to quarterback Justin Herbert. Being able to provide such a large target for Herbert on a regular basis can provide consistency and reliability for a gunslinger quarterback. In a sense, Herbert and Williams are a perfect pair, almost reminiscent of former Lions tandem Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Clutch Factor

This one is far less objective than simple size measurements. However, it can still be measured with stats. For example, in the 2021 season, Williams scored 6 touchdowns in game-tying or go-ahead scenarios, one of the best in the NFL.

So, not only does Herbert have a big-frame receiver that serves as a highly-dangerous deep threat, but that same receiver will maintain that level of play in high-pressure situations. And since Herbert has built a reputation of being cool under pressure, these two are a feared tandem in late-game situations. The Herbert-Williams duo will continue to be a cornerstone of the Chargers’ offense.

Versatility as a Catcher

Mike Williams making diving catch
Mike Williams can make any catch he wants to, thanks to his suberb athleticism. (via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Williams is not just a deep ball threat. During his time at Clemson, Williams was a key player in that offense due to his versatility. Sure, he was a go-to on long ball passes, but he was also a primary target in short-to-midrange routes designed to eat chunks of yardage. This versatility, along with his large frame, is a major reason the Chargers went with him at 7th overall.

When Williams was drafted by the Anthony Lynn-led Chargers, though, they already had someone who excelled in that yardage-focused role in Keenan Allen. So, Williams was slotted into being a pure deep threat, which stifled his potential. Now, though, coach Brandon Staley is much more open to capitalizing on Williams’s versatility. And opposing defenses now pay the price for leaving either Allen or Williams open.


Injury History

DraftSharks has an database that lists every injury a football player has suffered in college and the NFL. And, according to that database, Mike Williams has a laundry list of injuries throughout college football and the NFL. In 2015, Williams suffered a cervical neck fracture that caused him to miss that entire season at Clemson. In 2017, his rookie year, Williams suffered a disc herniation in his lower back, for which he missed several games. Then, in 2020, Williams suffered three separate minor injuries, but only missed a single game.

Williams thankfully didn’t suffer any notable injuries in 2021. However, his prior history with injuries, particularly around his back and neck, is cause for concern. Hopefully, with Coach Staley’s safety-first mindset, Williams can mitigate how much time he misses for injury.

Does Not Consistently Create Separation

Mike Williams making contested catch
Mike Williams excels at making contested catches, but finds trouble creating separation from defenders. (via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

While Mike Williams is crazy athletic, his route running could use some work. It appears as if Williams relies on his sheer size and solid top-end speed to beat out cornerbacks in man coverage. However, that leads to a number of contested catches for Williams. While he does excel at catching contested passes, it’s still not ideal to rely on risky passes. At the end of the day, it only puts Justin Herbert at risk of throwing interceptions.


Mike Williams, as mentioned earlier, got a huge payday from the Chargers. This extension showed that teh Chargers have faith in him improving even further over a career year, in which Williams had career highs in receptions and receiving yards. With a much larger role in the pass offense (one could even consider him to be the true WR1 over Allen), Williams should see an even greater improvement in his stats next season, assuming he stays healthy. This was the Mike Williams player profile.

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