Just when you thought the Dolphins' public take on receivers couldn't be any more mystifying ("happy with the group of players we have right now, been very productive"), along comes word that they're working out draft prospect Mike Williams tomorrow.
Williams, you won't recall because he played for Syracuse (motto: "No one cares"), is easily a late-first round pick based on paper talent in the way that Brandon Marshall or Terrell Owens are a good trade. Orange blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician sums it up:
After his sophomore season, Williams was on pace to break every major and minor school receiving record there is. He was in the middle of a 9-game TD streak. He shattered the record for receptions by a sophomore and was on pace to obliterate marks set by Art Monk, Marvin Harrison and others.
And then Mike got caught cheating and got kicked out school, setting in motion a series of poor decisions that would derail the rest of his Syracuse career. After sitting out the 2008 season, Williams returns in '09 with a renewed sense of purpose...garnering 45 catches, 713 yards and 6 touchdowns in the first six games of the season. He was on pace to not to break SU records but possibly Big East records...in the discussion for wide receiver awards, All-American mentions and more.
Then Williams got suspended for the Akron game over unspecified reasons...Then, two weeks later, the bomb dropped. Williams had abruptly quit the team. The reason? A pre-emptive strike to counter a suspension that was coming his way after being involved in a car accident in the middle of the night on his way back from a casino. Williams seemed to blame the coaching staff and claim he was unwanted. Looking at all of the chances he got from SU and all of the times he burned those bridges, that seems unlikely.
As TNisAM points out, when Mike Williams is good, he's very, very good. Syracuse had an offense that would make grown men cry, and yet the 6'2", 200-pounder was pulling in some staggering numbers.
Problem is, when he's very bad, he's naughty -- and he's still up to his old tricks.
"Mike Williams did not help himself [at the combine]," a source told ProFootballTalk. "He was horrible in interviews blaming everyone but himself for his problems at Syracuse...He is a great talent but a train wreck as a person."
Of course, the Dolphins are right to do some due dilligence: if Williams is capable of getting his act together, he could be That Guy an awful lot cheaper than a top free agent. But NFL success isn't a guarantee, and if there's one thing that's the exact opposite of what Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano say they want in a player, it's a defiant head case with a plethora of excuses who loves airing his grievances on social media sites and blames a generous coach roundly well-respected for his own bad decisions.
Parcells is famous for saying that if you make exceptions you end up with a team of exceptions, and coming off three arrests, a drug suspension, a mouthy exit from Joey Porter, and the confusing aquisition of a personal foul-loving penalty machine -- well, it remains interesting to see what balance this exacting front office strikes in a league where few good players are perfect.
Janie Campbell is a Florida native who believes in the pro-set and ballpark hot dogs. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the internet.