The Bucs started signing their draft picks on Friday with the signing of fourth-round pick WR Mike Williams. The Syracuse product is considered to have first-round talent, but off-field concerns pushed him down in the draft. Williams was signed to a four-year contract worth as much as $3.15 million.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began the process of signing their draft picks on Friday with the signing of fourth-round pick wide receiver Mike Williams. The Syracuse product was taken with the 101st pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Williams was considered throughout the NFL to have first-round talent, but off-field issues at Syracuse caused him to fall to the fourth round. Williams, 23, was signed to a four-year contract worth as much as $3.15 million including bonuses and escalators.
"I love this game, so I urged my agent, Hadley Engelhard, to reach an agreement quickly. I am focused on the opportunity to contribute to the team and am very excited to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer," said Williams.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Williams is a highly talented player that has produced when he played football. Williams was a starter during his freshman year, and in his three-year career with the Orangemen, he caught 133 passes for 2,044 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 29 games. In 2009, Williams had two phenomenal games before quitting the team midseason. Against Northwestern he racked up 209 yards and two TDs on 11 catches, and had a career-high 13 catches for 186 yards and two scores against South Florida.
Last year, Williams played in eight games and had 49 catches for 746 yards (15 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. As a freshman, Williams led Syracuse in receiving. He had 24 catches for 461 yards and four touchdowns. His best games that season were a three-catch, 99-yard game with one touchdown at West Virginia. A week later against Louisville, Williams had five receptions for 98 yards and a score.
In his sophomore season, Williams caught 60 passes for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns. Against Buffalo, Williams had seven receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown. In the final game of the year against Cincinnati, Williams had nine receptions for 160 yards and one touchdown. Williams was a second-team All-Big East selection. Football people around Syracuse said that he was one of the best athletes the team has had in the last 15 years.
Williams is competing for a starting spot with Tampa Bay, and has impressed the coaching staff and his teammates thus far with the Buccaneers. Currently Williams is in the mix to be the starting split end or 'X' receiver. Due to his downfield speed and playmaking ability, Williams figures to receive a lot of playing time even if doesn't end up winning a starting spot immediately.
The Bucs addressed the receiver position with Arrelious Benn in the second round of the draft, but felt Williams was too good to pass up in the fourth round.
In order to make room on the roster for Williams, the team released guard Michael Shumard. He had been claimed by the team off waivers from the Denver Broncos on May 12.
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