Los Angeles Chargers pick Clemson WR Mike Williams in 1st round of 2017 NFL Draft

Posted at 5:29 AM, Apr 28, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Los Angeles Chargers used their first draft choice after their move north on a playmaker who could attract plenty of attention in their new home.

The Chargers grabbed Clemson receiver Mike Williams with the seventh overall pick Thursday night, passing on a handful of elite defensive prospects to add a big-play target for Philip Rivers.

The 6-foot-3 Williams won the national title last season, leading the Tigers with 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. With an eight-catch, 94-yard performance against Alabama in the national title game, he capped an impressive return to elite form.

Williams missed nearly all of the 2015 season when he broke a bone in his neck by running into the goalpost in the first series of Clemson's season opener.

The Chargers have been looking for a dominant receiver since Vincent Jackson left for Tampa Bay in 2012. Keenan Allen has three 700-yard seasons, but he has played in just nine games in the past two years and is attempting to return from a season-ending torn knee ligament in San Diego's 2016 opener.

The Chargers' top pass-catcher last season was 6-foot-4 Tyrell Williams, who made 69 receptions for 1,059 yards. He could team with the 6-foot-2 Allen and the big rookie to provide an imposing size matchup for any defense.

The Chargers are loaded with skill-position talent for their first season in Los Angeles, where they will play in the 30,000-seat StubHub Center while trying to attract attention away from the Rams and a crowded sports marketplace.

Along with the top three receivers, Los Angeles will have running back Melvin Gordon and tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry around Rivers.

Williams was the second receiver taken in the first seven picks of the draft.

The Chargers celebrated their pick and their move by throwing a party for thousands of season ticket holders at Downtown Disney, the entertainment district just outside Disneyland. Fans put down their free chicken wings and roared in approval when Williams' name was announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.