When the Los Angeles Chargers made receiver Mike Williams the No. 7 overall draft pick last year, the team envisioned the rookie taking advantage of single coverage with Keenan Allen patrolling the slot and Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams as burners on the outside.
The plan never got off the ground as the Clemson product dealt with a back issue that wiped out his offseason program and the first five weeks of his rookie campaign.
Williams played in just 10 games, starting the season finale, and caught a total of 11 passes for 96 yards and zero scores. He caught a pass in just six tilts and earned more than one reception in two games -- with a high-water mark of five receptions for 38 yards in the home blowout over Buffalo.
This offseason Williams says he's healthy and ready to put the forgettable rookie season behind him.
"I'm excited about this year to not only prove to everybody else, but prove to myself that I know who I am and what I can be," he told the team's official website. "I'm real confident in my abilities. I wasn't capable of doing what I can do last year because of the injury. This offseason, I feel 100 percent. I'm ready to go out there and dominate. Everyone faces adversity. It shows what kind of player you are when you can bounce back from adversity. I'm looking to redeem myself and show everyone what I'm capable of doing."
Ricky Henne of the Chargers' official website points out that the team has a history of players bouncing back from injury-plagued rookie seasons. The three first-round picks prior to Williams -- Joey Bosa, Melvin Gordon, Jason Verrett -- each missed at least a quarter of their rookie seasons but made a Pro Bowl in Year 2.
Williams believes being healthy for this offseason will make the difference.
"It's totally different right now," he said. "My body feels a lot different. I'm excited to keep getting out there with my teammates and with Philip Rivers]. We want to get that connection down. Last year, I was able to go out there and play, but I wasn't the [Mike Williams I am used to being. I was limited in doing what I can do, and especially limited in what I do best, which is go up and get the ball. My back limited me from doing those types of things. Now my back is right, I'm healthy and feeling great. I'm ready to go out there and show everyone they've got a great player."
The Chargers have the chance to be among the most dynamic offenses in the NFL if Williams can become a go-to red zone target alongside Allen and tight end Hunter Henry. At this stage, however, everything remains a projection with Williams.