Tag:Mike Williams
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Syracuse WR Sales, a legitmate prospect, arrested

Last year former Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams turned in the finest rookie season we've seen in the NFL since Randy Moss exploded onto the scene in 1998. Scouts knew Williams could play. He had been graded as a potential first round pick by some scouts prior to his senior season with the Orange and thus, his rookie statistics (65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns) were not the huge surprise in the scouting community than you might expect considering Williams fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft.

He fell to that point because of a myriad of off-field problems.

A former teammate of Williams -- current Syracuse senior receiver Marcus Sales -- can only hope he'll be as fortunate after an arrest July 29 for felony drug possession, among other things.

Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone announced during the media day yesterday that he'd suspended his starting receiver for the arrest, though he stopped short of providing many specifics.
"When there's further information, I will definitely let you know. I've always done that. That's my policy," coach Doug Marrone said at Friday's media day. "We have a legal process that everything has to go through. We also have a judicial process that everything has to go through."
Sales' numbers last season weren't nearly as impressive as the ones that Williams had produced. In fact, prior to the last year's Pinstripe Bowl victory over Kansas State, Sales had only caught 21 passes for 242 yards and a single touchdown. It was Sales breakout performance against the Wildcats that no doubt caught the attention of scouts, however. Sales was virtually unstoppable in the bowl game, catching five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns in earning easy MVP honors.

News of Sales' arrest and subsequent suspension have the 'Cuse receiver tumbling down NFLDraftScout.com's wide receiver rankings. He's currently our No. 94 rated receiver potentially available for the 2012 draft, despite the fact that he was viewed by some scouts as a potential late-round pick entering the season. NFLDraftScout.com's ranking include underclassmen.

Sales and his older brother, Michael Sales, Jr. were arrested after the car Marcus was driving was pulled over for running a red light. Inside the car, police reported finding an open container of alcohol, as well as several bags of marijuana, a bag of 180 Lortab tablets and several digital scales, according to this very detailed report from Jim O'Hara of The Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. The brothers have been charged with fifth- and seventh- degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second- degree criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana. Marcus, as the driver, was also charged with running the red light, consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle and having an open container inside a vehicle. 

Sales clearly has bigger concerns at this point than worrying about his potential NFL stock. Should he, however, be able to resume his football career, pro scouts will just as obviously want to investigate the matter further before considering adding him to their roster.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 4:28 pm
 

Bucs' Williams, Eagles' Chaney top rookies

Stellar play from No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford for much of this season is likely to earn him the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, but in terms of consistency and dynamic play, no rookie -- offensive or defensive -- has been better this season than Tampa Bay wideout Mike Williams .

Williams, who leads all rookies in receptions (58), receiving yards (880) and receiving touchdowns (eight) was again a standout last week in the Bucs' stunning loss to Detroit. Though the Bucs lost the game, Williams was once the team's go-to player, catching six passes for 96 yards and a first quarter touchdown.

Williams' touchdown reception, (video here ) shows why he's done so well this season as Josh Freeman's go-to target. Quick off the line, he's able to avoid the Lions' defender initially and keep him guessing throughout the route with a series of fakes before catching the pass for an "easy" touchdown.

This is Williams' second time earning my Offensive Rookie of the Week award. He was also recognized in Week Four .

By now, you've seen most of the highlights from the Philadelphia-New York game. Most centered around the Giants' early scores and playmaking ability ot Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin and, of course, DeSean Jackson. You likely didn't see highlights of rookie inside linebacker Jamar Chaney , though his performance in this game played a key role in the Eagles' victory.
Chaney, starting his first game as a replacement for the injured Stewart Bradley, had a game-high 16 tackles in the Eagles' jaw-dropping comeback.

A 7th round choice in April, Chaney was a surprise to even make the Eagles' talented roster. Prior to Bradley's injury, most of his playing time had come on special teams. Since Bradley's injury, however, he's led the Eagles in tackles in both games.

Chaney, 6-0 and 242 pounds, is an ideal middle linebacker against teams like the Giants who feature a tough downhill rushing attack. Stout at the point and possessing good speed to get to the sideline, Chaney was able to help limit the Giants to only 100 combined rushing yards -- nearly a third less than their 144.9 yard per game average.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here. 
Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:05 pm
 

Tampa WR Benn, Arizona LB Washington top rookies

This week's two Rookies of the Week entered the game overshadowed by other first year players. Strong performances, however, certainly caught my attention and helped their clubs gain victories.

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman has relied on rookie wide receiver Mike Williams all year long, but it was the "other" rookie wideout who was the big playmaker for the Bucs this past weekend.

Arrelious Benn , a second round pick out of Illinois, enjoyed the best game of his career, catching four passes for 122 yards and also contributing an end-around run for another 17 yards. Benn was held out of the end zone, but just barely as he was tackled at the one yard line by Washington safety Kareem Moore after a 43-yard reception in the 4th quarter put the Bucs in position to take the lead.

Benn made an even bigger play in the second quarter, when he beat Washington's best corner, DeAngelo Hall, deep for 64 yards, putting the Bucs in position to score their first points (a Connor Barth field goal) of the game.

The Bucs beat the Redskins 17-16 in large part due to Benn, whose 122 receiving yards led all receivers.

The Arizona Cardinals' Daryl Washington was selected only eight spots later on draft day and, like Benn, he played a key role in his team's victory Sunday.

While the loss of quarterback Kurt Warner and wide receiver Anquan Boldin has appropriately received plenty of attention, many league insiders felt that Arizona might have a tougher time replacing versatile linebacker Karlos Dansby who signed with Miami as a free agent.

The athletic Washington has a ways to go before one can say he's "replaced" Dansby, but his versatility was on display in the Cardinals surprisingly easy 43-13 victory over Denver.

Washington's speed and agility were on display throughout this game. He helped contain Knowshon Moreno, one of the NFL's hottest backs in recent weeks and was just as effective in coverage. His interception and return 40 yards for a touchdown of Kyle Orton in the closing minutes of the game, in fact, put an emphatic stamp on the game.

For all of the talk about Arizona's new find at quarterback (rookie John Skelton), Washington was the rookie whose play was most instrumental in the Cardinals getting their 4th victory of the season.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Ivory, Lee stand out in impressive week for rooks

The 2010 NFL season has been a strong one overall for rookies. This isn't a surprise considering the amount of hype that the group enjoyed prior to the draft.

Two players who didn't gain a great deal of attention, however, were among the rookies who most stood out this past weekend.

Undrafted free agent Chris Ivory enjoyed another strong performance for the Saints, overtaking No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh to be recognized for the third time this year. He rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' 34-30 win at Cincinnati. The highlight of Ivory's afternoon was a career-long 55 yard run in the second quarter that was the first touchdown scored by either team.

Other offensive players whose play stood out this week included Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung, Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams, and fellow Buc LaGarrette Blount (running back).

While the Cowboys' Sean Lee , as a second round pick, certainly entered the league with a much higher profile than Ivory, the success of the Cowboys' flashy first rounder Dez Bryant and Lee's long recovery from a 2008 ACL surgery made him one of the "quieter" high profile selections in Dallas history. The former Penn State star has flashed during his rookie season but remains a backup behind veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James for the Cowboys.

Lee's play against the Colts spoke volumes, however. Lee victimized Peyton Manning for two of the All-Pro's four interceptions in this game, returning the first 31 yards to score his first NFL touchdown. Lee's second came in overtime, putting the Cowboys in position to kick the winning field goal. He also tied his previous career-high with five tackles on the day.

Among the other defenders whose play stood out this weekend was the Giants' pass rusher (and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week) Jason Pierre-Paul, Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap, New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes and a trio of cornerbacks - Cleveland's Joe Haden, Kansas City's Javier Arenas, and the Patriots' Devin McCourty.


Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:12 pm
 

Blount, Suh winners in competitive Week for Rooks

Just as this past weekend proved to be a very difficult one in determing the senior Prospect of the Week, Sunday's slate of NFL games featured several noteworthy performances from rookies.

No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford played very well in leading the Rams to their fourth win of the season and sole possession of second place in the very winnable NFC West division. Bradford completed a career high 78.1% of his passes for 191 and two touchdowns (against zero interceptions) to beat Carolina.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry, my reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week, was even more impressive Sunday against the Bills than he was against the Jaguars on October 24. Berry posted a career-high 10 tackles and his 4th quarter interception ended a potentially game-winning drive by the Bills in the 4th quarter. The Chiefs, 5-2 and atop the AFC West, won in overtime.

Tampa wideout Mike Williams caught four passes for 105 yards, including an impressive 47-yard touchdown in an exciting 38-35 come from behind win over the Arizona Cardinals.

In the end, however, the continued dominance of Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and resurgence of former Oregon standout LaGarrette Blount stole the show.

Suh, who earned Prospect of the Week honors earlier in the year, may have enjoyed his greatest NFL game so far Sunday in Detroit's win over the Washington Redskins. Suh recorded five tackles, including two tackles for loss, two sacks and returned a fumble 17 yards for his first NFL touchdown. Suh now has 6.5 sacks through seven games. His mark ties him for 8th in the NFL and leads all defensive tackles. 

Blount rushed for 120 yards and two scores -- including the game-winner -- against the Cardinals. The bruising runner showcased the power and surprisingly nimble feet that had earned him high grades from NFL scouts prior to the infamous meltdown in which he punched a Boise State player and was suspended from the Oregon football team.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Pair of 4th rounders earn Rookies of the Week

The first step in earning Rookie of the Week honors is, of course, to see the field. Because of their perceived greater talent and their signficantly greater salary, high round picks almost always get the better opportunities to start.

Being fourth round picks, however, certainly hasn't slowed down the progress of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' wideout Mike Williams or Tennessee Titans' cornerback Alterraun Verner .

I've highlighted Williams on numerous occasions, including back in training camp (August 1) when he was already turning heads .

I've long been a fan of Verner, one of the feistier defenders in the draft. I listed him among five players heading up the board as the draft approached (April 7) and was surprised, frankly, that he lasted until the early fourth round.

Unless you're living under a rock somewhere you likely already know that Williams has developed an early rapport with Bucs' young quarterback Josh Freeman. The 3-1 Bucs have featured Williams throughout the season and he entered the matchup against a tough Bengals' secondary leading the team in receptions (12), receiving yardage (139) and receiving touchdowns (2) over the team's first three games. An obvious focus of the Bengals defense, Williams was slowed early in the contest, but stepped up big late, leaping over veteran Johnathan Joseph to catch the tying touchdown with only 56 seconds left. Williams finished with seven grabs for 99 yards and the score.

Like Williams, Verner's solid play contributed to an upset victory. Matched up against a variety of talented receivers and facing Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo didn't seem to faze Verner, as he registered eight tackles and stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Martellus Bennett and tipped at the line of scrimmage by Dave Ball to make the first interception of his NFL career. Verner returned the ball to the one-yard line, where superstar Chris Johnson quickly gave the Titans a touchdown. Playing opposite an established talent like Cortland Finnegan, Verner's tenacious play has earned raves from coaches and scouts throughout the league.

It is interesting to note how closely Williams and Verner went in the fourth round. Williams was the third pick of the round and 101st pick, overall. Verner was selected only three picks later.

** One final note... I considered listing Arizona quarterback Max Hall as my Offensive Rookie of the Week. He certainly made some gutsy plays in the win over the defending Super Bowl champs, but had the Cardinals defense not saved the day by scoring nearly as many points (14) as they allowed to the Saints (20), the interception and two fumbles lost by Hall would be getting more attention than they currently are. Hall was good enough to win -- and that, in itself, is verrry impressive, but all of the comparison between he and Kurt Warner is hyperbole, in my opinion. 
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:43 pm
 

Impressive rookie Lions: Best, Suh tops this week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week One. On offense, Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas had a strong first game to his NFL career against the Seahawks with 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dallas' Dez Bryant, who I recognized last week in this space as a "honorable mention" Rookie of the Week, enjoyed a strong second game as well, with 52 receiving yards and a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. I try to look beyond just the "skill" position players for these awards and I was mightily impressed with the drive blocking of San Francisco left guard Mike Iupati last night against the Saints, as well as that of Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey in the Steelers' win over the Titans.

In the end, however, this week's Offensive Rookie of the Week was a no-brainer.  

Though his Detroit Lions lost to the Eagles Sunday, Jahvid Best was absolutely electric. He had 232 total yards from scrimmage (17 attempts for 78 rushing yards and nine receptions for 154 yards) and scored three more touchdowns. His five touchdowns over the first two weeks of the season lead the NFL. Some anticipated that an athletic and aggressive Philadelphia defense would tee off on Best considering the marginal downfield passing of Detroit backup quarterback Shaun Hill. With the Eagles crowding the line of scrimmage against the run, Hill simply found Best as an outlet receiver. Once in the open field, Best's agility and straight-line speed make him a matchup nightmare. Best is the first rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two NFL games since another Lion, Billy Simms, accomplished the feat 30 years ago.

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates, though in my opinion this week's award was just as much a no-brainer. Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons), Koa Misi (Dolphins) and last week's honoree T.J. Ward (Browns) were impressive again. I was also impressed with the coverage supplied by Denver cornerback Perrish Cox. His coverage helped shut down the Seahawks reclamation project, Mike Williams, and his interception of Matt Hasselbeck ended any chance of a Seahawk comeback.

However, Ndamukong Suh proved to be every bit the dominant player against the Eagles we projected he'd be in the NFL. Suh posted eight tackles -- second most in the league by an interior defensive lineman -- and recorded his second sack in as many games. The Lions featured Suh and Best on the same play twice Sunday, with Suh lining up as Best's fullback.

Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:17 pm
 

KC's McCluster, Browns' Ward Rookies of the Week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week One. On offense, the skill position players like St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford, Detroit running back Jahvid Best, and a host of receivers -- Cincinnati's Jordan Shipley, Dallas' Dez Bryant and Tampa Bay' Mike Williams certainly deserved consideration. So too did some of the lesser acknowledged players -- such as Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki and Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams. 

In the end, however, my choice for Offensive Rookie of the Week was Moeaki's teammate, running back/receiver/returner Dexter McCluster.

McCluster was limited to only two receptions (for nine yards) and one rushing attempt (no gain), but his dazzling 94-yard punt return in the second quarter of the Chiefs upset victory over the Chargers was among the biggest plays of the opening weekend. His touchdown provided the Chiefs with the momentum (and, ultimately the deciding points) that helped them hold on to beat the AFC West favorites. 

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates. Philadelphia safety Nate Allen had five tackles and an important interception of Aaron Rodgers. Pass rushers Koa Misi (Dolphins), Greg Hardy (Panthers), and Tyson Alualu (Jaguars) all made big plays for their teams.

The consistency of Cleveland safety T.J. Ward, in my opinion, was the most impressive of the week, however. Ward led all rookies with 11 tackles Sunday in the Browns 14-17 loss to Tampa Bay. He also forced a fumble and essentially an interception with a strong blitz that forced Bucs' quarterback Josh Freeman to throw earlier than he wanted, resulting in a pick by Browns' teammate Mike Adams.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com