HOWIE'S GOTTA do it. The crowd will love it.
The draft comes to Philadelphia this spring. On April 27, Roger Goodell simply has to approach the dais and announce, "With the fifth pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Mike Williams, wide receiver, Clemson."
If Goodell doesn't say those words then Eagles general manager Howie Roseman should be fired right there, on the spot. Jeffrey Lurie should be forced to relinquish control of the team to his ex-wife, Christina. Don Smolenski should be unseated as president and go back to minor league hockey, or at least be sent to the Union (he loves soccer).
Mike Williams represents everything franchise quarterback Carson Wentz deserves: size, speed, athleticism, good hands and a desire to play football. The current crop lacks at least one of those elements: Jordan Matthews, speed and athleticism; Dorial Green-Beckham, the will; Nelson Agholor, all of the above.
Of course, the Birds, who draft 14th or 15th (wherever next month's combine coin flip lands them) would have to trade up . . . but they really have no choice, do they?
This decision was made last year, when the Birds sold the farm to draft Wentz at No. 2. He proved them wise, setting a rookie record for completions without a No. 1 receiver, without a No. 1 running back and without a steady line; Wentz started behind seven different combinations.
It makes no sense to proceed with Wentz at quarterback without giving him at least one lethal weapon. Why buy a Ferrari if you're going to drive it only to the grocery store?
Even the nicknames roll off the tongue: Wentz &Williams! WWII! The East Coast Dubs! OK, we'll work on the nicknames. Still, the tandem makes perfect sense.
Like Wentz, Williams is a natural, born for the moment, bred for the spotlight, a national champion. He caught nine passes for 174 yards in the season opener at Auburn, which finished 24th in the country; 15 for 202 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Pitt, which was ranked late in the season; six for 96 yards in the playoff semifinal against Ohio State; and eight for 94 yards and a TD on Monday night in the biggest game on the biggest stage of his life; a stage on which, amid a constellation, he was the brightest NFL-type star.
The Eagles don't have much money to spend on free agents, but that's fine, because Williams is a better bet to be a long-term impact player than DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffrey, who are among the top pending free-agent receivers. Williams is not only a better receiver than anyone the Eagles have on their roster, he might turn out to be better than anyone they've had on their roster since Terrell Owens in 2005.
He's 6-3, weighs 225 pounds and runs a 40-yard dash in . . . well, we can't be sure exactly how close to 4.4 seconds he is, since he hasn't run for scouts, but he's close enough to 4.4 have gotten open 98 times for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He went over 1,000 yards in 2014, too, with six TDs, and averaged 18.1 yards per catch and caught nine passes for 112 yards and a TD in a blowout win over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He's a smooth athlete who, in a blink, can elevate three feet with complete body control, a remnant of his days as a high school basketball star.
You know who else was 6-3, 225, faster than you thought and played football like a power forward?
Owens brought a great deal of toughness to the field, too; but then, no one will question Williams' grit.
Williams missed his most of 2015 after he fractured his neck in the opener against Wofford. He was pushed into the goal post . . . but he held on to the pass.
To review: He made the catch with a broken neck. Agholor dropped passes because of psychological distress. Doug Pederson would never have to love Williams up.
OK. Deep breath.
This might be a bit hyperbolic, a tad over the top. But anyone forced to watch the abomination of wide receiver play the Eagles presented in 2015 and 2016 cannot be blamed for projecting, if not exaggerating, the abilities of what clearly is a bona fide NFL stud with Tigers bloodlines that trace to Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and DeAndre Hopkins.
Matthews has played efficiently. Zach Ertz ticks the box as the young, talented tight end every team needs. But playoff teams almost universally have a big-time wideout: Quintorris "Julio" Jones, Desmond "Dez" Bryant, Odell "Gilligan" Beckham Jr.
Is Mike "Draft me at any cost" Williams guaranteed to play to their level? No. Nothing's certain in the NFL. In 2010, Antonio Brown went 195th, 156 picks behind Arrelious Benn. Perhaps it's the afterglow of Clemson's comeback win, but Williams just seems like a can't-miss kid.
What would it take to move from No. 14 or 15, where the Eagles will pick, to, say, No. 5? Certainly, the Eagles' second-round pick, as well as either a fourth-round pick this season or a second- or third-round pick in 2018.
OK. Deep breath.
Can that possibly be worth it? Can the Eagles afford to ignore their cornerback vacuum and their dearth of depth at offensive line?
Again, none of that really matters.
What matters is getting Wentz a receiver with whom he can grow; preferably, someone big, fast and capable like Wentz; someone who, like Wentz, can play above the heads of the defense.
To a degree, that describes Corey Davis from Western Michigan and Courtland Sutton from SMU, except Davis isn't particularly fast, Sutton (if he comes out) isn't as developed as Williams, and neither jumps like Mike.
Curtis Samuel, of Ohio State, might be just as fast as Williams but he's smaller and, as a converted running back, he will be an NFL project. JuJu Smith-Schuster has a name that invokes a lucky publisher, but JuJu has the peculiar misfortune of sharing the provenance of Agholor. No more USC receivers, please.
Any of that group of wideouts would improve the Eagles' stable and let Roseman & Co. fill other holes. None of those receivers carries the cachet of Mike Williams.
Howie, you're on the clock.