When the New York Giants signed Brandon Marshall, adding him to the duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, speculation immediately began whether or not the Giants had the best receiving corps in the NFL.
And while they may or may not is still up for debate, there’s another question that could be asked: What if it could be even better?
The 2017 wide receiver class is a fluid one. John Ross seemingly cemented his position at the top, blazing past an injured Corey Davis and Mike Williams with his combine-record 4.22s 40 yard dash and reportedly sterling interviews. The stock of the other two top receivers is in question. With Davis’ ankle injury keeping him from working out, there are questions about where he belongs relative to prospects who regularly faced a higher level of competition.
Clemson stand-out Mike Williams -- along with many other Clemson players -- passed on running the 40 yard dash at the combine, which only magnified doubts regarding his speed. He was long considered the top receiver in the draft based on his tape, but what if those doubts caused him to fall in the draft?
- Big frame, long arms, and good-sized hands give Williams a big catch radius.
- Long strides eat up ground in the open field.
- Great body control to box out defenders and adjust to the ball.
- Good play speed.
- Uses good route running with subtle cuts and hand usage to create separation
- Natural “hands” catcher. Plucks the ball out of the air rather than letting it into his body.
- Not an explosive athlete. He doesn’t jump out of the gym or explode off the line of scrimmage.
- Neck injury that claimed his 2015 season will need to be evaluated.
- Not as strong or physical as you’d like to see from a big receiver.
- Occasionally runs into drops or slips in his routes.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
I don’t think there’s an offense into which Williams wouldn’t fit, so yes. He fits with the Giants. One Giants’ scout told the Times and Democrat of Orangeburg South Carolina,
"Clemson needs to understand what they have in Williams," the scout said. "What they have in Williams is a special, special kind of receiver. A guy that has his kind of speed, his kind of body control, his kind of size and his kind of ability to high point the football is a rare thing. With him coming back this season, they basically have a guy that should be playing on Sundays playing for them on Saturdays."
The bigger question is whether or not after investing a high first round pick in Odell Beckham Jr., a high second round pick in Sterling Shepard, and giving Brandon Marshall a 2-year contract, could the Giants afford to pick Williams if he should fall to 23rd overall.
Of course, the flip-side to that question is whether or not they could afford to not pick him if he fell.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 10th overall
CBS Sports - 21st overall
Draft Countdown - 6th overall
Draft Tek - 9th overall
Brandon Marshall is 33 and only signed to a 2-year deal. He isn’t a long-term solution or addition to the Giants’ roster and shouldn’t be a reason to avoid adding a receiver if the Giants believe one presents the best value at any given point in the draft.
The questions about Williams’ speed may have been answered at his pro day, in which he was reportedly timed by scouts anywhere from a 4.50s to a 4.58s 40 yard dash. Each team will use the time provided by their own scout, but anything in that range is acceptable for a big receiver. And with that in mind, I would be stunned if Williams fell all the way to 23rd overall, and would be incredibly hard to pass on there. It would mean allocating a tremendous, perhaps even foolish, amount of resources to the wide receiver position (not to mention future cap space), but to have a corps of Beckham, Shepard, and Williams, along with Marshall to mentor them and teach Williams how to be a big receiver, is certainly fun to imagine.