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Is Mike Williams the best remaining WR fit for NY Jets?

Mike Williams
Mike Williams

Reviewing the film to see if Mike Williams is a worthwhile trade target for the New York Jets

With four days until free agency commences, many of the top-tier wide receivers who could have been available are already either re-signed or franchise-tagged. Some receivers who were rumored to potentially be on the trade market, such as Davante Adams, are seemingly not available for trade.

It is imperative that the New York Jets still try to go after a guy who can make a big impact across from Garrett Wilson. To me, they should be kicking the tires on Courtland Sutton. If that doesn’t work, I think the next best option is Mike Williams.

An unfortunate ACL tear that limited Williams to three games in 2023 could push the Chargers to move on from their former top-10 pick. He’s one of four players with a 2024 cap hit north of $30 million, and the Chargers have a new regime in place that may be looking to go younger overall.

Williams has also been inconsistent with his production at times. In 2022, he had five games with 90 or more receiving yards, but five games with under 35 yards, and he also missed four games. In 2021, he had a similar consistency problem, as he had six games with 90+ yards and five with less than 40 yards.

Still, the 6-foot-4 Williams remains one of the best jump-ball winners in the league. In 2022, Williams was 11th out of 69 qualifying WRs (minimum 60 targets) with a 57.7% contested catch rate (15/26), per Pro Football Focus. He caught 5-of-7 contested targets in 2023 (71.4%) and has been above 50% in six of his seven NFL seasons.

That is exactly what the Jets are looking for. In 2023, Garrett Wilson was 11-of-37 on contested targets (29.7%) and Allen Lazard was 4-of-17 (23.5%). This is where Williams excels with his big frame, and elite catch radius, which is where he can make a big impact within an Aaron Rodgers ran offense opposite of Wilson.

Williams also has excellent hands overall, as he only had one drop on 67 catches and 93 targets in 2022. This is a primary reason why he was third out of 131 qualified WRs in ESPN’s catch score.

The Clemson product is an average separator but his hands, contested catch ability, and deep ability are what really stand out. The obvious problem is he is going into Year 8 coming off of a torn ACL at 29 years old. Although Williams has only played a full season once in his career, he only missed seven games from 2018-2022, which is not bad.

How did the film look when he was on the field?

Mike Williams film review

A big thing I look for when watching WR film is how QB-friendly they are. If you are coming into an offense with Aaron Rodgers, you need to be on the same page when plays break down. This play is a great example of Williams’ feel for the game, as he adlibs his route based on the defense’s leverage. He takes his crosser upfield, but not too far upfield, just behind the DB backpedaling, which allows Herbert to loft a beautiful ball in. Williams does a great job making a hands catch while dragging his feet for the TD.

Not much separation from Williams here, but it does not matter. He is running a sort of flag/7 route, but Herbert purposely stops him from running a full corner route by throwing the ball upfield once he sees the corner’s back is turned. Williams makes a great adjustment on the ball and high-points it while getting interfered with for a huge explosive. Big-time and-1 play from Mike.

Nice look here at how effective he can be in the RZ. Williams is on a little double move, again not getting much separation, but Herbert does a great job throwing him open. At his height, it is absurd to make a one-handed catch reaching down like this. Along with that, he finishes the catch through contact and gets his feet in. This is a one-of-a-kind play that he makes look fairly casual.

Similar to the clip above, this is just a fade ball to Williams in the RZ. He does a good job fighting the DB’s hands and gets a little bit of separation. His ability to adjust to the ball in the air is at full display again. This is elite body control to make the catch and get his feet in. His size is a luxury similar to Sutton in the RZ and contested catch situations.

Lastly, against an elite corner in Denzel Ward, Williams wins in a contested catch situation again. The takeaway from this clip is if you don’t leave safety help over the top, 1-on-1 coverage is consistently a win for Williams. Herbert sees the weak side safety take one false step and it’s over. He calmly lofts the ball up to Williams who again highpoints the ball very well and finishes the catch through contact.  Explosive plays like this were a rarity at best in the NYJ offense in 2023, and something that Williams could provide from Day 1.

Again, it is important to understand what the Jets need to complement their superstar WR Garrett Wilson. They desperately need a deep threat who can help in the RZ and is good in the contested catch area. Check, check, and check when it comes to Mike Williams, which is why he should be a target for the Jets if and when he becomes available next week.

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2 months ago

Constantly hurt