Mike Williams shows off his speed for NFL teams at Clemson Pro Day
CLEMSON — Mike Williams looked over his left shoulder and up at the big video screen in Clemson’s indoor practice facility. The time on his first 40-yard dash read 4.5 seconds, unofficially. He flashed a big smile.
That should do the trick.
If there was any doubt about Williams’ speed ahead of Clemson’s Pro Day, the future first-rounder squashed it Thursday. Performing in front of more than 100 NFL scouts, coaches and general managers, all eyes were on Williams when he lined up to run.
At the NFL Scouting Combine two weeks ago in Indianapolis, Williams chose not to run the 40. His gamble seems to have worked out well.
“I just think that they (NFL personnel) just wanted to see his long speed. He’s run by a lot of fast dudes that they have times on,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “I just think they hadn’t seen him run and figured he’d be somewhere in the (4.5s), but he’s the complete package.”
Clemson’s top receiver last year with 11 touchdowns and 1,361 yards, Williams also ran a series of pass routes with quarterback Deshaun Watson throwing to him.
Williams declined to speak with the media after his performance, but Swinney took a few minutes to give his perspective.
“He’s the great combination of everything we’ve had come through here. He’s the most complete. He’s got the dog toughness of Jaron Brown and Adam Humphries and he’s got the freaky athleticism and ball skills of DeAndre Hopkins and he’s got the route running ability and some explosive power of Sammy (Watkins). And so he’s a handful,” Swinney said. “With Mike Williams, if there’s only one on him, he’s wide open. If there’s two, they better be real tight on him.”
While most eyes were on Williams and Watson, Pro Day was also an opportunity for some of Clemson’s under-the-radar prospects to showcase their skills. Swinney said wide receiver Artavis Scott and running back Wayne Gallman have been underrated in the draft process since they began training after the national championship game. Unofficially, Scott and Gallman ran 4.49 and 4.48, respectively, in the 40-yard dash.
“(Artavis) is going to be a guy that just makes plays and is one of the hardest guys we’ve had come through here to tackle,” Swinney said. “(Wayne) is just a violent runner, slashing kind of a guy that gets better as the game goes and just keeps bouncing up … Somebody’s going to get a good one in the Wayne Train.”
Bears John Fox returns
One of the NFL coaches on hand Thursday was Chicago Bears coach John Fox, who reminisced with Swinney about Clemson’s Pro Day in 2010 — one that didn’t run as smoothly as this one. Fox was there seven years ago to see running back C.J. Spiller, and the event was held outdoors because Clemson had no indoor facility. It rained that day, and not having anywhere else to go, Swinney was embarrassed. Thursday, the two coaches joked about it.
“(Fox) said, ‘You remember when you gave me that little golf umbrella when it was pouring down rain out here and we were on that field when Spiller was doing his Pro Day?’” Swinney said. “That’s really kind of the spark that got it going for that indoor (facility).”
Not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine two weeks ago, Jay Guillermo laid it all on the line at Pro Day on Thursday, beginning with the bench press. The former Clemson center completed 33 reps of the 225-pound press and snapped for Watson when it came time for the throwing portion of the workout.
Guillermo estimated about 17 or 18 teams have talked to him over the last few months.
“All I need is a chance. I work hard. I’ve been working hard my whole life. My whole family, that’s kind of our motto,” Guillermo said. “I think I opened some eyes today. I think I set myself up well.”
He even made a few scouts laugh.
“A couple guys asked me to do some impressions of Coach Swinney and Coach (Woody) McCorvey so that was pretty neat. Pretty funny,” Guillermo said. “They appreciate a good sense of humor.”