Where will Mike Williams eventually settle on a list of active NFL receivers from Clemson?
Perhaps on top of it.
NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly, formerly general manager of the Washington Redskins jersey, believes the potential first-round draft choice will a better pro than the Houston Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins.
“Watching the two of them coming out of college, off tape, to me, Williams has better separation, the ability to beat a defender one-on-one when he has to, inside and outside on cuts,” Casserly said on NFL Network’s Path to the Draft.
That’s saying a lot.
Hopkins’ resume includes a 111-catch, 1,521-yard season on it (2015) and he’s averaging north of 1,100 yards per year after four NFL seasons. Hopkins is the most accomplished among a deep group of NFL receivers from Clemson that includes Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. Williams was a big draw Thursday at Clemson’s pro day, where he ran a pair of 40-yard dashes clocked in the 4.5’s. It was a solid time for a player of Williams’ size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and strength. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called Williams “a first-round pick all day long,” at the pro day workout Thursday.
While Casserly prefers Williams over Hopkins, and projects him to be selected No. 10 overall by the Buffalo Bills, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some scouting concerns about him.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Oakland Raiders are moving forward with “the expectation that” Connor Cook is their projected starter for Saturday’s matchup against the Houston Texans jersey. Matt McGloin suffered an injury to his trapezius muscle in a season-ending loss to the Broncos and will not be ready. Cook, in relief, completed 14 of 21 passes for 150 yards, a touchdown and an interception. McGloin was 6 of 11 for 21 yards.
Derek Carr obviously broke his leg in a Christmas Eve win over wholesale jerseys the Colts.
For those enamored by the quarterback position, Saturday might be a difficult one to get excited about. If Cook starts, he’ll face off against the embattled Texans starter Brock Osweiler who, despite some fleeting moments of solid play this season, was benched for his overall ineffectiveness. Osweiler’s replacement, Tom Savage, sustained a concussion against the Titans this past weekend and has yet to be cleared.
Who would have guessed that the Texans would have a perceived advantage over anyone under center?
“There are two ways of looking at it, so I think obviously the weight of, ‘Oh my gosh, this is your first start and it’s going to be a playoff game,’ that’s a big one to bite off,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Monday, via CSN Bay Area. “Whether that is the case or whether (Cook) comes in in a backup role, we’ll see.
“They have a damn good defense,” Brady said Monday morning on WEEI. “There is nothing easy about this game for our offense. We’re going to have to go grind it out. We have to go get cheap jerseys our mind right and we will. We had a good week of practice last week and we need to carry it over into today and all the way through Saturday night.”
In Week 3, the Brady-less Patriots shut out the Texans 27-0. Despite one of the worst performances of the NFL season from Osweiler, the Texans out-gained the Jacoby Brissett operation 284 yards to 282 yards.
With Brady at the helm this time, most are predicting another butt whipping.
Brady started the week attempting to dash any feelings of overconfidence in the Pats’ locker room.
“I don’t think you take anything for granted,” he said. “I don’t think you mail in your preparation. I think we go about it the exact same way we’ve gone about it all year — we put everything into it this week, we empty the tank in our practices, which we always do, and then you come out the end of the week with confidence and ready to go out there and show everyone that we’re prepared and we can play.”
If the Patriots are prepared to play — and history tells us Brady and Bill Belichick won’t lay an egg — Saturday night’s tilt will quickly turn into another playoff blowout.