When it comes to the NFL draft, the name Mike Williams and bust have become synonymous.
The one-time USC standout who challenged the NFL and lost in trying to enter the league before completing three years of college failed miserably in Detroit, then gained a ton of weight and fell out of playing shape to render any chance of success virtually impossible.
But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have changed the perception of the name.
Their Mike Williams, selected 101st overall (4th round) out of Syracuse this past draft, has quickly made an impact in becoming the team’s number one receiver. In just four games, Williams has 238 yards receiving and four touchdowns, including a spectacular grab among two Cincinnati defenders to tie the game late in the fourth quarter last week before the Bucs ultimately won.
Generally draft “steals” are more likely to produce on a team that is already winning, not a team that is devoid of playmakers. But Williams is making Josh Freeman’s progression a lot smoother, and his presence is one of the key reasons the Bucs have already matched last year’s win total with their 3-1 start.
It also isn’t often a fourth-round pick ascends to the top of the depth chart right off the bat, but hats off to head coach Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik. Both men are under 40 years old, but their relative youth hasn’t skewed their ability to find talent. Top pick DT Gerald McCoy has also been stout in drawing double- and triple-teams to free up other defenders to make plays.