GM Dominik on WR Williams: "We put the most time into this player.'
Mike Williams has never had anything more than a speeding ticket.
That's what the Bucs' thorough background check revealed about the Orangemen's troubled but talented wide receiver, who left the team after seven games last season. He missed 2008 for academic reasons and reports said he cheated on a test.
The Bucs drafted Williams with the third pick in the fourth round Saturday.
But at 6-foot-2, 221-pounds, Williams is an enormous talent. In 2007, he caught 60 passes for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last year, he had 49 receptions for 746 yards and six TDs in just seven games.
"I believe as a scouting staff and an organization, we put the most time into this player, more than anybody, because it was that important,'' Dominik said. "He was one of the 30 visits to this organization so we could spend a full day with him. I had multiple conversations with Doug Marrone, the head football coach at Syracuse University. And at the end of the day, I feel very good about this selection, about the talent he brings. And I wouldn't bring somebody in here if I didn't feel comfortable about it.
"Again, I think there's a balance between everything. This kid, when you go back and do your research and take a look about what's really in his past in terms of any aggravated assaults. The only thing I can tell you right now is he had a speeding ticket.
"So, other than that, this kid did make a mistake in terms of what happened to the Syracuse football team and he regrets it. But we spent countless hours with him at the combine, here. We went to his private workout. Again, I don't think anybody spent more time than the Buccaneers did and I think we're going to reap the rewards for it.''
So what really happened to Williams last season? Did he quit the team or was he suspended?
"He got into an altercation or an accident in college and he was late for curfew and that's against the rules at Syracuse,'' Dominik said. "That was the beginning of what happened. Obviously, if coach Marrone wants to talk about it further, it is what it is. To me, that's a matter with Syracuse.''
Williams is the second receiver to be drafted by the Bucs in as many days. On Friday, they took Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn in the second round.