Matt "Money" Smith and Chris Hayre previewed 2022 free agency on last Thursday's episode of Chargers Weekly, powered by YouTube TV.
The Athletic's Daniel Popper also joined the podcast to discuss the re-signing of Mike Williams, needs in free agency, and his takeaways from the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Download and subscribe to the Chargers Podcast Network wherever you listen to podcasts. A few highlights from the conversation with Popper are below.
On the return of Mike Williams
"The vision for him is really what led to this deal. Brandon Staley comes in as the head coach and he has a vision for what Mike Williams can be as a player and it's not what he was in his first three seasons in the league: the 50-50 ball type player where you're pushing the ball down the field and that's really all he is. It's not that many catches, and he's more of a one-dimensional player in terms of just being a deep-field threat.
"What Brandon Staley envisioned was a guy that could be a complete receiver. A guy who could run the slants, who could run digs, who could run outs, who could run the smoke routes and be that type of presence in the short and intermediate area of the field and we saw that come to fruition this season. And then, like you mentioned, that connection and rapport with Justin Herbert just got better and better as the season went along. And I think it's noteworthy that with the season on the line in the fourth quarter in Las Vegas, who was Justin throwing the ball to? It was Mike Williams."
Takeaways from the combine
"It feels like any position is on the table at 17 [overall], really feels that way. And that's always the case with this front office. They're always going to take the best player available. They're not going to draft for need in that spot. They're just going find the most talent they can with their premium picks. But I don't think it's necessarily, 'OK, we need a defensive lineman to fix the run defense' or, 'We need a right tackle,' or, 'We need a cornerback.' I really feel like they can go in any direction.
"If there's a really good receiver there at 17, Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco have said over and over and over again, 'Listen, we're not going to just be content with this offense. We're not going to be complacent. We're going to try to build this thing into something even better.' And that could mean drafting some speed at 17. [Ohio State's] Chris Olave's a guy that could potentially be there."
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