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Mike Williams Wr ...U.S.C.


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I had to ask this Question because of some of the things Kirk,and I had gone back and forth about. Also , a player came to mind who was in a similiar position back in the early 90's.

That Player was Ken Swilling the great Georgia Tech. Linebacker who was a sure shot at being a top 5 pick if he came out his Junior year. However Bobby Ross, convinced him to stay in school for his senior year ,where he suffered a major ankle injury. At the following Combine, He couldn't run and ended up being a later round selection of the Saints. He had a couple of All Pro seasons, but was never the same lb he was in college, and was forced to retire early because of cronic ankle problems from numerous surgeries.

So Should Mike Williams come out or not...? Life only gives you one lottery ticket a wise man once said.!

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Yeah, it could mean that.....but check out this article I found on NFL.com....Apparently he's not as surefire a pick as we all think ;)

There is a puzzle emerging

By Pat Kirwan

Special to NFL.com

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 22, 2004) -- I'm generally not in the business of reporting what players and coaches may be doing. I leave that to others more capable than me of digging up scoops. But I am in the business of investigating what the impact of decisions are.

Torn between sitting in Indianapolis and waiting for test results from the scouting combine and trying to clear up the picture at the top of the draft, I decided to spend Saturday as close to the issues surrounding USC wide receiver Mike Williams and the potential ripple effect he may cause should he decide to enter the draft. What I found out was a bit surprising and complicates the decisions Williams faces.

There were stories floating around Indy all day Friday that Williams will forego his junior year and enter the NFL draft. Some people were already sure he was coming out, which by Saturday evening was still unfounded. I got as close to the Williams situation as possible and spent an entire day trying to understand what his thinking is, which way he is leaning, and what the NFL personnel decision-makers are thinking about as it relates to the 20-year-old wide receiver from USC. There is a puzzle emerging and all the factors haven't even been put on the table yet, but the situation is a lot clearer to me this Sunday morning than it was Friday morning.

Let's start with the obvious. Williams is a very talented player that can play in the NFL next season, but so can a number of college players. Those other players have already decided more development will position them to be better prepared and in a better position for the draft in 2005. Apparently the list of NFL general managers and personnel directors who share the same opinion about Williams is very long.

Here are some of the comments I heard about Williams this weekend: "He's not the best prospect at his position in this draft and that's enough of a reason for him to wait." Another GM said, "I've known the kid and his family for a long time and he still has some growing up to do. Besides that, he will be the top receiver in the 2005 draft." One more general manager said, "The kid is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy next year and has a chance to break every receiving record in college football, and still be just 21 years old."

One of the best capologists in the NFL added, "He will never recoup the money he will lose because he will be drafted lower than he thinks." I hope Williams has heard all of these comments as he sits at home trying to make a decision. And that leads me to the next piece of the puzzle.

Two events that transpired in Indianapolis could have an effect on Williams and there are more events to follow in the next few days that might affect Williams directly or indirectly. The first issue I found interesting when I asked about Williams was how quickly people brought up Maurice Clarett's decision not to work out at the combine because he wasn't ready to run. The issue of maturity is on the minds of some, and comments by Buffalo GM Tom Donahoe about Clarett were echoed by many others I spoke with and coincidently mentioned about Williams. There are people who are wondering why he now thinks he may come out and why he didn't decide a few weeks ago in time to work out at the combine, or did he intend to skip the combine?

Mike Williams has the ability, but some people say he needs more time to mature.

The next issue is even more interesting to me. Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery worked out at the combine and he was absolutely amazing. As one personnel director said, "He was everything Tony Boselli or Jonathan Ogden were when they came out."

Those are strong words and shared by many in Indianapolis. How does that impact Williams? Well, as the personnel director went on to say, "Gallery is the safest pick in this draft, and if you take him you get a 12-year starter from Day 1. He now has to be considered in the top three in this class."

The effect of Gallery moving up could be pushing wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald out of the top three because the other top candidates are quarterbacks and teams will not pass on a signal-caller. If the top receiver in the draft gets pushed down a spot or two, it usually means the whole group can drop a spot or two. As one receiver coach said to me, this is an excellent draft for wide receivers without Williams and there aren't as many quality quarterbacks or offensive tackles as there are wide receivers so teams can wait and get a very good player who can catch.

I asked another receiver coach who has really studied the receivers in this draft what he thought of Williams' position on the board if he enters this class. He said Williams is a first-round pick but his speed is a question as it relates to the other top players. He could easily shake out as the fourth wide receiver taken and maybe move up to the third or down to the fifth, but still a first-rounder.

The difference between being drafted fifth and 15th is an extraordinary amount of money. That same receiver coach had his own practical advice for young Williams. He said the receiver ought to have someone he trusts to put him through workouts and tell the NFL people the results before he makes this decision. If the kid turned out to be 240 pounds and ran 4.6, he better stay in school. My thinking is he needs to do that workout, and if those are the results, he just needs to say, "I've decided to stay at USC for another year" and tell no one.

In talking with USC people, I believe they have Williams' best interest at heart. They also know if he leaves the football team it will move on with or without him. Don't get me wrong, they want him to stay, make a run for another national championship and have him win a Heisman Trophy.

But on the other side of the coin, they moved on after Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer left for the NFL and if they have to play a young receiver next year, they will get him ready in time. Plus, the coaches are quick to point out quarterback Matt Leinart has a year under his belt and he could emerge as the Heisman hopeful if Williams is gone. If Williams stays in Southern California for another year, he will be faster, more mature and ready to possibly be the top pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. What impressed me most when talking to the USC people is how they realize the Clarett decision will impact them in future years as they continue to recruit top players and play them as freshmen.

One GM had a very interesting perspective on Williams. He asked, "How can you not love the guy when you watch him play, but our job is to project what he's doing on a college field to an NFL field?" Right now with all the Clarett stuff on everyone's minds, we are all looking for the kid who understands maybe we know what we're talking about when we say stay in school, get three years of playing time and grow up. He also added that he was fairly sure Williams' family wants him to stay for one more year and wonders who is telling him he's a top-seven pick in this draft.

I went looking for an NFL person who thought he was a top-seven pick. I couldn't find a single person who at this time feels he is. One person with a top-10 pick did say if he weighs 225 pounds and runs 4.4 at his Pro Day then he might change my mind. I can only hope the people whispering in Williams' ear know how much he weighs and how fast he is at this time since they have nothing to do with drafting him, but they now know what at least one team is looking for before they would take him that high.

Finally, I enjoyed my fact-finding day trying to put the puzzle together at the top of the draft and I got more done away from Indianapolis than I could have at the combine. What is clear to me now is that NFL people really like to have the time and all the information possible to make a big decision. I get the feeling the hasty decisions on young players are a thing of the past. For example, people still feel the effects of the lack of information in making a Ryan Leaf decision versus the amount of information that was available to make a Peyton Manning decision. There have been just too many mistakes with young players to assume teams are going to jump whenever a young guy announces he's coming to the NFL.

So Mike Williams is left to paint the picture he wants to paint. Will it look like Leaf? Will it look like Manning? Texas wide receiver Roy Williams is held in high regard and he painted a picture like Manning. If the top wide receivers all blaze a fast 40 this week or at their personal workout, it gets even more complicated. If a pass-rushing end runs a 4.5 in the 40, things can get even more difficult to understand. I know Gallery's workout affects a lot more draft picks than originally expected it would.

Mike, whatever you do, I wish you well and I just hope you are asking as many qualified people as I have this weekend as you ponder your decision.

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