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Even though I don't think there's any chance at all Williams slipping past the Chargers, this article provides a glimmer of hope.

Gifted but idled Williams to bring mystery to combine

Feb. 22, 2005

By Clark Judge

SportsLine.com Senior Writer

Tell Clark your opinion!

If you want to know what's up with former USC wide receiver Mike Williams, here's a suggestion: Don't ask an NFL coach or general manager. They haven't seen him in over a year, and they're not sure what they'll find when they dissect Williams at this week's scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Mike Williams is going to impress some scouts, in former coach Pete Carroll's estimation. (Getty Images)

"The key," said San Diego executive vice president and general manager A.J. Smith, "is what kind of shape he's in after a year off. Everyone knows who he is and what he's capable of doing. We just haven't seen it for a year."

Williams disappeared last year when a court ruling denied him admission to the 2004 NFL Draft and sabotaged his eligibility for another collegiate season. So Williams sat while others played, and among the others was Michigan's Braylon Edwards -- widely considered the best wide receiver in this year's draft.

Williams isn't far behind, but NFL types don't know where to place him until seeing him at this week's combine and attending his pro workout, scheduled for March 10 in Tampa. Until then ...

"You're making a leap from last year to looking at someone who's taken a year off," said an AFC player personnel director. "Plus, where does he fit in with this year's class? There's a lot of gray there."

It's not Williams' abilities that pro scouts question. He has sure hands. He has great size. He's physical. He's aggressive. He makes tough catches. He's a monster in the red zone. And he produces big plays.

Study the videotapes of Williams' sophomore season at USC, and you find an impact player who hauled down 95 passes for 1,314 yards and 16 touchdowns. But don't stop there. Keep the footage rolling, and watch Williams run for 26 yards, complete both passes he attempted, block a kick and make a tackle.

"When you go back and review the tape," said Smith, "you see someone who was dominant. He's a legitimate first-round talent."

But this isn't about talent. It's about potential. Specifically, it's about Williams' speed and weight, and what those numbers convey to prospective suitors.

A year ago when Williams thought he was entering the draft he turned up for a pro workout in great shape, only to run a 4.6 40 on a track. That would have pushed him down in last year's draft, and it will push him down again if the time doesn't improve.

I'm not talking about sending him to the bottom of the first round. I'm talking about pushing him to the middle of the round instead of the top 10 where some thought he belonged last year at this time.

"What you want to know is: Has he put on weight? Is he a step slower? Does he still have quickness?" said an NFC scout. "And we're not going to know that until we see him."

It's uncertain if Williams will run at the combine or participate in drills. A list of questions was submitted to his agent, Mitch Frankel, but they were not answered.

However, USC coach Pete Carroll said he believed Williams had been working "very hard" on his speed in workouts in Atlanta and pro scouts would be impressed with what they see.


"He looked like he was in great shape the last time I saw him," said Carroll, "and that was about three weeks ago."

One general manager said he was interested in Williams' physical condition because it would signal "what kind of worker he is." OK, I can buy that. The guy had the year off, and coaches want to see how he improved himself -- if, in fact, he did -- for this year's draft.

They already know what he can do, and they have videotapes of the 2003 season as evidence. What they don't know is what he can do better, which is why speed becomes an issue. If he can't improve on a 4.6 and hasn't controlled his weight, you might be looking at a 6-foot-5 receiver with a future as a tight end or H-back.

"You've got to look at the record," said Carroll. "This is an outstanding player who produces numbers, scores touchdowns and makes plays. He's an unusually gifted athlete."

Now he has to prove it. All over again.

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There is no chance that Mike Williams will fall to us....and i will tell you why....The Bears (4) the Vikings (7) the Redskins (9) the Cowboys (11) the Chargers (12) the Chiefs (15) all could use Mike Williams (i'm sure not ALL of them are interested but i cant seem him falling past those 6 teams) ...not to mention the teams who would be trading up to get him if he slipped out of the top 10...sure thatd be great, and probably the steal of the draft, but it just doesnt seem very possible...at all

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...and then there's the Moss trade, which virtually ensures that the Vikings will take a WR with the newly acquired 7th pick....

But aside from all that, WR is not a top position of need, assuming we get either TJ or Warrick back this year. Washington I know slipped a bit, but Kevin Walter is a top notch 3rd or 4th receiver. This is not a year for the Bengals to spend a pick earlier than round 4 on a WR. Greater needs exist on both lines, TE, LB, and SS. I'd argue that corner (a position ML has said he will not be addressing in the draft) is a greater need than WR this year.

On the other hand, while we're on the topic of WR, take a look at the online draft profile(s) of WR Terence Murphy of Texas A&M, and think round 4 or later.....

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Yeah, I hope he trips and falls on all of his attempts.

That's malicious thinking, but y'know, this is a special player.

Damn, now I know what homeboy was thinking when he said he wish we were in the top 5 this year.

I'd LOVE to have this guy.

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