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After long road, Williams’ draft journey culminates with Buccaneers’ selection in 4th round

first_imgWilliams himself? Mostly speechless.  ‘I’m elated, I’m excited and we’re looking forward to jumping on the bandwagon of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,’ said Williams’ father, Wendell. ‘He’s going to prove that he is a premier wide receiver.’ This day was a long time coming for Williams, who caught 49 passes for 746 yards and six touchdowns last year. After leaving the Orange with four games to go, he’ll get a second life in Tampa Bay.  They did. Three picks into the fourth round of this weekend’s NFL Draft, Tampa Bay drafted the former Syracuse wide receiver. To many, it was the biggest roll of the dice in the draft. After an up-and-down collegiate career, Williams will get a fresh start on an ultra-green Bucs offense.  Throughout the draft process, this visit stood out above the rest. Williams ate at a Tampa steakhouse with coaches, talked about the offense and hit it off immediately. Published on April 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm BUFFALO — After seeing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — a team that coveted him all along — draft a wide receiver in the second round, Mike Williams was crushed. Also joining Williams in the pro ranks is former SU defensive tackle Arthur Jones, who was taken by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round (157th overall). Jones, who couldn’t be reached for comment, joins a loaded Ravens front four responsible for keeping Ray Lewis and Co. blocker-free. [email protected] ‘I was thinking from the start that Tampa would grab me,’ Williams said. ‘They grabbed another receiver and I thought, ‘Wow, who else now?’ It was shocking, but I’m glad they came back around and got me.’ Talent-wise, many scouts pegged him a first- or second-round pick. But as expected, Williams slipped. He winded up as the 101st overall pick and the 14th wide receiver drafted.  Watching receiver after receiver get picked wasn’t easy. These were all players Williams believed he was better than. Before the draft, he said any team that takes him after the first round was getting the ‘steal of the draft.’ Sporting a Buccaneers hat and a glistening smile, the plunge didn’t seem to matter Saturday. Williams feels wanted. Finally, he’ll start anew and attempt to atone for his mistakes.  Surrounded by friends and family outside his home in Buffalo, Williams soaked this in. He posed for pictures, hugged his tear-filled mother and exhaled often. It’s been a long path here. After missing all of his 2008 season to academic suspension and then leaving the Orange program last fall, Williams was dogged by character questions up until the draft. Neither could his entourage. Scattered across his front lawn, family members screamed, ‘Tampa Bay! Tampa Bay!’ Wearing a puffy Syracuse coat, Williams’ mother vowed to stock up on Buccaneers apparel later that day at the mall. Williams’ younger brother shouted, ‘I’m going to Disneyland!’ Mike’s uncle chronicled everything on camera. And Mike’s dad repeatedly screamed into that camera, ‘The Mike Williams Show is coming to Tampa Bay!’ ‘I felt like I was drafted already when I was down there,’ Williams said. ‘They treated me like it was home. Everything was good. I just can’t believe I’m there now.’ Comments This is where he wanted to be. Along with second-round pick Arrelious Benn from Illinois, Williams hopes to revive the league’s 24th-ranked passing game.  ‘It’s relieving,’ he said. ‘All (Friday) I was waiting and waiting and waiting. The time seemed like it was never going to come. So it feels good that I am finally off the board now.’ His draft party came and went with a whimper Friday night. Restless and confused, Williams almost eliminated Tampa, Fla., as a possible destination. Almost. Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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