A Close Look at the Early Success of Rookie Mike Williams


Yesterday a co-worker walked up to me and thanked me for telling him about Mike Williams before the season started. I guess he (like many of us Bucs Nation members did I expect) took a late round flier on the rookie from Syracuse in his fantasy draft. He had drafted Chad Ocho Cinco as his second receiver, and his subsequent disappearance from the Bengals' offense was made much easier to deal with by having Mike Williams step into that role for his team. I simply gave him a smug "I told ya so" grin, but in reality I had to remind myself that not even I expected this young man to play as spectacularly as he has this season.

By now we've all surely heard the hoopla about Mike Williams leading all rookies in receiving, but what we haven't really heard about is how he stacks up versus all his peers. Right now Williams is amongst the top twenty of receivers and tight ends in both yardage and touchdown catches. His 470 yards put him 20th amongst his peers, and only six of those top twenty players can boast a better yards per catch average than Williams' 14.7.

His four touchdowns make him tied for 17th in the NFL. The one stat that Williams is probably not proud of is his three fumbles on the season. This puts him at the top of the list along with Chicago's RB Matt Forte. Obviously rookies make mistakes and I have no doubt that Williams will learn to protect the ball moving forward.

Could anyone have predicted this kind of success? Williams was an instant hit once he joined the Buccaneers and some draftniks had him rated as high as the #2 receiver on the board after Dez Bryant. Looks like those guys were right. Not a single issue has arisen with Williams' so called "character issues" we heard so much about before and after the draft, and I have to give kudos to Tampa Bay Buccaneer GM Mark Dominik for seeing the light and drafting this guy.

Now that Williams has reached the century mark in yardage for the first time in his career I can only expect him to trend upwards on this list of statistics rather than downwards. I think his production thus far is more than sustainable and if he obtains a mere thirty yards next week versus the Falcons he will be on pace to reach 1,000 yards his rookie year. No matter which way you look at the anomaly that is Mike Williams, you can't help but be impressed by this.

What do you think Bucs Nation? Are you as impressed with this young man as I am?

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