Williams at the Head of His Class

When the first-ever “Day Three” of an NFL Draft dawned on April 24, 2010, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one player in their direct sights.  Picking third in the upcoming fourth round, they believed they had a good shot to get their man and, indeed, with pick #101 the Bucs landed former Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams.

Williams arrived in Tampa with a burning need to prove that he was worth much more than a fourth-round pick.  “I’m going to go in there and work hard,” he said on the day of his selection.  “I figure if I work as hard as I can, they say hard work pays off.  They’re going to know that Mike Williams is a great player.

Williams is well on his way to fulfilling his prediction.  One thing is already clear: Despite his fourth-round status, he is the most productive receiver from the 2010 draft class.

There were 27 receivers drafted in 2010, including two in the first round: Demaryius Thomas by the Broncos and Dez Bryant by the Cowboys.  Thomas and Bryant are two of the more productive pass-catchers from that group, as one would expect, but Williams tops them all in yards and receptions and is tied with Bryant for first in touchdown catches.  Here are the top 10 receivers from the 2010 draft class:

Rd. Pick Player Team

Rec.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

4

101

Mike Williams Buccaneers

149

2103

14.1

17

1

24

Dez Bryant Cowboys

144

1867

13.0

17

6

195

Antonio Brown Steelers

121

1717

14.2

3

3

88

Andre Roberts Cardinals

104

1282

12.3

9

3

78

Brandon LaFell Panthers

91

1360

14.9

6

1

22

Demaryius Thomas Broncos

86

1376

16.0

9

3

87

Erick Decker Broncos

84

1159

13.8

12

3

77

Damian Williams Titans

79

976

12.4

5

2

60

Golden Tate Seahawks

69

800

11.6

6

This season, Williams has unlocked the big-play element in his game, with the help of Josh Freeman’s downfield accuracy and a new offense that places high value on taking deep shots.  Williams’ is fourth in the NFL with an average of 19.4 yards per catch through the first seven weeks.

There were, of course, some receivers who fell through the draft in 2010 but have since emerged as productive players in the NFL, most prominently the Giants’ Victor Cruz.  If undrafted players who entered the league in 2010 are added to the above study, Cruz would barely edge Williams in terms of yards, with 2,163.  Williams would still lead the entire 2010 class in receptions and would still be tied for first in touchdowns.

Dez Bryant plays for the attention-magnet Cowboys, Antonio Brown was very publicly called the Steelers’ MVP by his teammates last year and Demaryius Thomas is now sharing in Peyton Manning’s spotlight.  Williams may not yet be attracting the same level of attention, but he’s got the production to top them all and he’ll get a chance to shine in the lights of prime time on Thursday night in Minnesota.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


+ one = 4

262,889 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

HTML tags are not allowed.