It doesn't take long for Mike Williams to make an impression.
Tampa Bay's fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft, the former Syracuse receiver was a standout in the very first practice of the team's rookie mini-camp the following weekend. He was a starter on the opening day of training camp. He caught a 30-yard pass just 10 minutes into his first NFL preseason game to set up a touchdown against Miami. He gained 53 yards on the Bucs' very first play from scrimmage two weeks later against Jacksonville.
And now, just one game into his first NFL regular season, Williams is already in the running for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award.
After a weekend in which a large number of NFL newcomers made strong first impressions, Williams is one of five players in the running for the weekly award. The winner will be determined by fan ballot at NFL.com, where voters can choose from the Bucs receiver, Philadelphia safety Nate Allen, Jacksonville defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, Detroit running back Jahvid Best and Kansas City running back Dexter McCluster.
Click here to go to NFL.com and cast your vote.
Williams started at receiver in his first NFL game and led the team with five receptions for 30 yards in the Bucs' comeback win over the Browns. Williams ignited the comeback with a stunningly acrobatic touchdown catch following Ronde Barber's 64-yard interception return to the Cleveland three.
On the play, quarterback Josh Freeman threw a hard pass to Williams as he cut across the end zone from right to left. Williams had a defender right on him and as the pass zipped towards his back shoulder the rookie receiver reached back to get a hand on the ball, deflecting it into the air and towards the back line of the end zone. Williams then spun 270 degrees, located the ball and hauled it in, then tapped both toes inbounds as he fell backward over the line.
Voting began for the first Rookie of the Week of 2010 on Tuesday morning and will continue until noon on Friday. The winner will be announced on Friday evening. AT the end of the season, five players will be nominated for NFL Rookie of the Year honors, an award last won by the Buccaneers in 2005, when running back Cadillac Williams took it home.