Sorry rap fans not Mike Jones but yes the 6’4, 218 lb monster LA Charger wide receiver, Michael K. Williams. Going into week 4 of the NFL Mike Williams is the 2nd best wide receiver in the league. In 3 games he has totaled 22 catches for 295 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is breaking out and starting to establish himself as one of the elite receivers in the league. Let’s take a look at how he got here and what took him so long.
Throughout his entire football career he was always highly regarded. A 4-star recruit coming out of high school in South Carolina, he combined for 126 receptions, 21 touchdowns, and amassed 2,691 yards over the course of just his junior and senior year. He would then attend Clemson, where in 2015 while catching a touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson, he collided with the goal post and fractured a bone in his neck. In 2016 as a redshirt junior, he recorded team highs with 98 catches, for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had a signature game as he caught 8 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in the National Championship game where they would defeat Alabama 35 – 31. Throughout this season, and especially that game, he made it blatantly obvious he was an alpha beast amongst runts.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chargers selected Mike Williams 7th overall. His rookie year he was hampered with several minor injuries. He would only total 11 catches. In 2018 he showed glimpses of why he was drafted so high as he caught 43 balls and 10 touchdowns. In 2019 he would go for 49 catches, 1,001 yards, and 2 touchdowns in 15 games. In 2020 he went for 48 catches, 756 yards, and 5 touchdowns.
So what took so long for the extremely gifted and talented sleeping giant to wake up? There are a culmination of things that are contributing factors. The first being various minor injuries slowing him down. It wasn’t just the injuries through his first 3 seasons though. The other issue was Phillip Rivers was on the tail end of his 17 year career, and prior to Mike’s arrival, he already had 4 years of chemistry with Keenan Allen. In 2020, he had rookie QB Justin Herbert under center who was still doing on the job learning, but proved that he is going to be a very productive QB in the NFL. One of the biggest reasons you could say though, is the arrival of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Joe Lombardi was the quarterbacks coach in New Orleans from 2016 to 2020 and had a big hand in running the offense that allowed wide receiver Mike Thomas to have 4 monster seasons all over 1,000 yards. In 2019 Thomas caught 149 passes, for 1,725 yards and 9 touchdowns. Why is this relevant? Mike Thomas played the “X” position in that offense. So for this Chargers offense in LA, when Joe Lombardi needed to find a player with similar build and athleticism, he hit 2-8-1-3-3-0-8-0-0-4 and hit Mike WILL up on the low cuz Mike Will about to blow!