In an effort to give Philip Rivers all the tools he needs to succeed as his career winds to a close, the Los Angeles Chargers selected game-changing wide receiver Mike Williams with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. With the receiver coming off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, the Chargers may get a chance to see those returns.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported in July the former Clemson wideout may need surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. If doctors had decided to operate, the recovery period would’ve robbed Williams of his entire 2017 campaign. Instead, he recovered and looks to be ready to contribute as a rookie.
The herniated disk kept Williams from all but one of the Chargers’ rookie minicamp practices this summer. He received two epidural shots in hopes of stemming the pain and spurring recovery, and his body responded in time to avoid major surgery.
Williams is now set to join one of the league’s most underrated passing attacks, although the removal from the list likely doesn’t mean he’s ready for Week 1. If the team didn’t pull him from the PUP list Saturday, he would’ve been ineligible to play in the first six weeks. His removal means the Chargers hope to see him back at some point early in the season.
Los Angeles rosters Keenan Allen and 1,000-yard receiver Tyrell Williams as its top-two receivers, flanked by steady veterans in Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin. Potential Hall of Famer Antonio Gates and rising star Hunter Henry hold down the tight end position. Combined with Williams, that group is poised to give Rivers the deepest — and potentially the most talented — receiving corps of his career.
The team rolled the dice by picking up another electrifying playmaker with major durability concerns. Allen is a dynamic home run threat downfield, but a kidney injury and a torn ACL limited him to only nine games over the past two seasons. These injury woes have been endemic to the franchise in recent years.
The Chargers haven't had a first round pick play 16 games as a rookie since Melvin Ingram in 2012. Now, Mike Williams might miss the season.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 19, 2017
Williams’ health problems aren’t just limited to his emerging back problems. His junior season at Clemson was cut short by a broken neck that could have ended his football career. Instead, he came back with a 1,361-yard, 11-touchdown campaign that ended with the Tigers’ first national championship in nearly four decades.
The Chargers will hope that resilience is a character trait that defines his NFL career. The franchise invested heavily in creating one of the league’s most dynamic and fun offenses for its debut season in Los Angeles. Getting Williams back would be a significant boon to those plans.