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Why Dabo Swinney Expects Big Things from Mike Williams in 2018

Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams' sophomore season has a chance to be special.

His college head coach said it's just a matter of time.

At the Senior Bowl on Tuesday, Clemson's Dabo Swinney said that with an entire offseason under his belt heading into 2018, Willliams has a chance to make a true impact in year two.

"This is NFL football," he said, "and there's always a transition. But make no mistake; he's going to be an incredible pro and an impact player for the Chargers."

Swinney won a national championship with Williams in 2016. A few months later, the Chargers selected him seventh overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.  However, a back injury suffered in rookie minicamp last May prevented Williams from the valuable work so vital to a rookie's success. As a result, he caught only 11 passes for 95 yards in 2017. 

"All of that timing and chemistry and the relationship — that stuff is developed in the offseason," Swinney said. "It's developed in the OTAs and he didn't get a lot of that, especially when he got hurt in camp."

Swinney added that when Williams finally did return in Week 6 of the regular season, priorities shifted from developing as a player to preparing for actual games. The time lost in the offseason couldn't have been made up in the fall.

Philip Rivers recognized this, too. At his end-of-season press conference, Rivers said Williams was never truly able to play free as a rookie, a direct result of missing time.

"I'm excited about Mike," Rivers said. "I think Mike can bring great impact, bring a lot to our offense, but this offseason will be huge for him. Keep him healthy, all those OTAs. A full offseason program in the weight room and running, and Mike can add another dimension to our offense."

From an experienced receiving corps led by Pro Bowler Keenan Allen to a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Rivers, Swinney acknowledged that Williams has the right group around him to succeed in 2018.

"This will be a big year for him. I promise you, Philip, he'll figure it out and they'll find that [No. 81] quick."

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