Is It Too Soon To Call Mike Williams A Bust?
Since being drafted seventh overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mike Williams has failed to live up to expectations for the Los Angeles Chargers. However, it may be too soon to consider him a bust. Let’s explore the meaning of the word “bust” and try to figure out if it is too soon to consider him one.
In general, the word “bust” refers to one who does not live up to his or her potential. Famous washouts such as Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell are the headliners for the biggest disappointments in NFL history. Leaf’s fall is well remembered for the number of public tantrums he threw as well as the interceptions. Russell was drafted first overall primarily due to his huge arm. Unfortunately, quarterbacks need much more than a strong arm to survive in the NFL and he was out of the league in three years.
Other players have had long careers but never lived up to their potential. Aundray Bruce was drafted first overall in 1988 by the Atlanta Falcons. His Draft class was not very deep and as a result, there were greater expectations for him to do well. He ended up playing until 1998 but never reached a single Pro Bowl while recording just 32 career sacks.
Mike Williams is an interesting case. After being selected seventh overall in the 2017 NFL Draft he played sparingly in his rookie year and only caught 11 passes. The following year (last season) saw him score 10 touchdowns while receiving 664 yards. He also ran seven times for 28 yards and one touchdown.
It may be too soon to consider him to be a bust. The player who most closely resembles his career is Robert Griffin III. He was drafted second overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins and promptly made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the playoffs and his career plummeted. He is currently the backup quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens.
There has also been a number of Hall of Famers who played poorly their rookie year and went on to have a great career. Peyton Manning and Jerry Rice headline a long list of great players who had a rough time starting out in the NFL. When he was drafted first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, Manning threw a career-high 28 interceptions. He came back prepared the following year with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while leading his team to the playoffs. Since that season, he became one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history.
Rice spent the majority of his rookie season learning the intricacies of the West Coast Offense and dropped a large number of passes thrown his way early on. That all changed in a Monday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Rams when he recorded 10 catches for 241 yards and one touchdown. Since that game, he cemented his status as one of the greatest players to play the game.
A player needs more than two years before being considered a failure. If Williams does not improve in the following two seasons then he would rightfully be considered a bust. Unless that day arrives, public scrutiny is just a whistle in the wind.