Philip Rivers voice took on a somber tone when describing the current situation with the teams’ first round pick during a recent interview with NFL Network’s, Rich Eisen. When asked about the status of the promising, Clemson prospect, Rivers response was somewhat less than reassuring.
“Hopefully he’s getting healthy right now and is going to come into camp and be able to help us…” Rivers replied, before going on at some length to assure listeners of the quality of the team’s depth at the position. Rivers clearly wanted to make the point that the team wasn’t relying on Williams’ contribution in the case that he can’t go.
Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence in Williams chances of contributing this season. Williams’ participation in team drills during minicamp was limited due to back soreness attributed to a herniated disc.
Further casting doubt on Williams’ availability, Eric Williams, of ESPN suggests that the youngster might very well start training camp on the PUP. Otherwise, the Chargers have been quiet on the subject, which might speak loudest of all. As Williams explained, the team is playing it safe, banking on the third overall pick’s youth in hopes he’ll bounce back an avoid missing any time due to injury.
When the Chargers drafted Williams 3rd overall, many questioned the logic of picking a receiver given the team’s perceived depth at the position, citing more urgent needs in other areas. Others saw the pick as insurance for the oft-injured Keenan Allen. Allen’s injury last season forced an emergent Tyrell Williams into the spotlight slightly ahead of schedule. Though he was impressive and the early action was beneficial for both team and player, he struggled at times with routes and aggressiveness with the football.
Allen’s injury also forced recent acquisition Travis Benjamin to play out of position. Coveted for his ability to stretch and NFL defense, Benjamin was not brought in to run short crossing routes on 3rd and 4. That’s not his game and it showed. And while Dontrelle Inman provides valuable depth, proving he belongs in this league, he lacks the game-changing ability of any of the four above him on the depth chart.
Though it stands to reason that T. Williams will benefit from experience and take another step forward this season, lessening the need to press the other Williams into action. A full season from Keenan Allen would also lessen the blow of any losses suffered at the WR position. Still, Rivers assurances aside, if Mike Williams can’t go the Chargers could find themselves one injury away from suddenly being pretty thin at WR.