It hasn't taken Buffalo native Mike Williams very long to make an impression with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Riverside High product and rookie wide receiver from Syracuse is currently practicing with the first-team offense during the early stages of training camp.
Williams, a fourth-round draft pick, is working as the starting "X'' receiver (or split end on the line of scrimmage opposite the tight end). He was the second of two wide receivers drafted by the Buccaneers in April. The other was second-rounder Arrelious Benn, who starred at Illinois. Both are expected to have prominent roles on offense once the season begins, but Williams has clearly been the best of the two rookies so far.
"Mike Williams had a dynamic offseason,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris told Tampa reporters. "He's come in, he's done everything we've asked. He's been one of the guys who has caught the ball, he's stood out and he's been standing out since he's been here.
"He's a big, tall, fast guy who can go out there and make plays, and right now he's running with the ones (first team). So he'll have an opportunity to go out there and prove himself in the preseason. Depth charts don't come out until we play Cleveland (in the regular-season opener). But right now, he's running with the ones, and he's having a ball and his teammates are having a ball with him."
It should be noted that Williams would have been drafted much higher than the fourth round if not for questions about his character due to off-field issues that led to him missing several games and getting a one-year dismissal from the school. He was reinstated last season, but left SU again after violating team rules.
It appears Williams has grown up a lot since then, which is good news. He is an enormous talent and if he keeps his head on straight, he could be an impact player in the NFL for many years to come.
taggedNFL | Training camp