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Friday, July 11, 2008
Mike Williams faces uphill battle to make Titans

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

 
 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
 The 10th pick in the 2005 draft, Mike Williams already has played for three different teams (Detroit, Oakland and now Tennessee).

Perhaps no player has drawn more interest from Tennessee fans this offseason than Mike Williams.

Many in Nashville wanted the Titans to take the receiver in the 2005 draft, when the team actually made an even worse pick at No. 6 with Adam Jones. Jones did show he can be a good football player, but was a top-flight headache for the team that drafted him, earning a year-long suspension for an accumulation of incidents that tested the league's personal conduct policy. Williams, who went 10th to Detroit, has not proved he can play, though he has avoided police stations and NFL discipline.

While Williams' weight is down to a more reasonable 242 -- 30 pounds less than when he joined the Titans during the 2007 season according to The Tennessean -- coach Jeff Fisher recently said conditioning is still an issue and that at the end of OTAs Williams was still not in position to play three or four series in a row in a preseason game.

I do not believe Williams will be part of the 2008 Titans.

While the Titans have no plans to move him, physically he looks more the part of a tight end, something former Titans general manager Floyd Reese predicted would ultimately be his fate back when he evaluated Williams in the draft.

New offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger will make the Titans a more vertical team, and Williams can't help much with that. Still, he probably has more of a chance with Heimerdinger than he did with the previous coordinator. Norm Chow was finished with Williams just a few weeks after he joined the team on Nov. 22, 2007.

While Williams could be a help in the red zone, I suspect he'd be too much of a specialist to take up a roster spot.

Tight end Alge Crumpler will be the big body, physical receiver Vince Young needs. The players Williams will be competing with for a spot at the bottom of the Titans receiver depth chart -- like Paul Williams and Biren Ealy -- have more upside and more potential to be able to help out on special teams.