On last week’s episode of Phinsider Radio, the three of us discussed our favorite ‘darkhorse’ players for the upcoming 2019 season. Immediately after the topic was brought up, there was only one player that came to mind. His name is Preston Williams.
For those that don’t know, Williams was a four-star recruit out of high school . And after a problematic career off the field at Tennessee, Williams would find his way to Colorado State - anxiously waiting for the NCAA’s approval. A year after being forced to sit out a season, Williams amassed 1,592 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior year (2018). But it still wouldn’t be enough to put his troubled past behind.
Ultimately, Williams would not be invited to the NFL combine. Furthermore, the draft would come and go without ever hearing his name called. To some, it may have been the deciding fork in the road. But not for a man that has already overcome so much.
For those living under a rock, there’s a new regime in Miami. And with that new regime comes second chances for a lot of former NFL players and hopefuls alike. Furthermore, most of the offseason has been used to award these players with opportunities. That’s exactly what the Dolphins did when they signed Williams to a contract, shortly after the draft.
Let’s take a look at everything we know about the 22-year old wide receiver, and what he needs to do to make the 53-man roster.
Who is Preston Williams?
Hometown: Lovejoy, Georgia
Weight: 211 LBs
School: Tennessee/Colorado State
Games watched: vs Hawaii, @ Florida, vs Air Force
vs Hawaii (9 catches, 188 yards, 2 touchdowns)
What we learned from this game is quite simple. Williams is good, very good. And one thing that was abundantly clear, is that he was the best player on the field vs Hawaii. Furthermore, whenever they had the chance to get the football in Williams’ hands, that’s exactly what they did. In addition to his 6’4 frame, Williams looks the part of a true number one wide receiver.
Most impressive, is how well he can high point the football and box out receivers with his large frame. Also, his route running and ability to create separation with his quick feet is equally as impressive.
Here, is a look at each of Williams’ targets from last season’s game vs Hawaii.
preston williams had one of his best statistical performances of the year in week 1 vs hawaii. and no, the rainbows are not known for their suffocating defense. but here you can see some of the traits that make williams a player to watch as the offseason progresses. pic.twitter.com/6cTVsqAsh9— josh houtz (@houtz) May 30, 2019
@ Florida (9 catches, 106 yards)
After watching Williams flourish vs Hawaii, it was time to see what he could do when going against some SEC competition. As we know, Florida breeds NFL defensive backs. So this would be a good barometer of the type of player he can be. More so, it allows us to see how he performs vs tougher competition.
Again, Williams is by far and away the best player on Colorado State’s offense. And although you can see him struggle at times vs tougher competition, the game never seems too big for him. Williams makes everyone around him better and although the quarterback play was dreadful all season long, he put up big numbers.
Let’s take a look at what Williams can do against much tougher competition, on the road in Gainesville:
i was told to watch preston williams vs florida because hawaii was too easy.— josh houtz (@houtz) June 6, 2019
williams finished the game with 9 receptions for 106 yards and again, looked like the best player on colorado state's offense.
no joke this time, article will drop tomorrow morning on @thephinsider pic.twitter.com/rUw2AQBESK
vs Air Force ( 12 catches, 248 yards, 3 touchdowns)
Like Hawaii, Air Force isn’t known as a defensive juggernaut. And in the last game of his collegiate career, Williams looked nearly unstoppable. Here’s a look at his three touchdown performance vs Air Force.
Every year, we fall into the same trap and get overly excited about a player impressing in shorts and a t-shirt. But like everything surrounding this new Dolphins’ team, this time just feels different. By most accounts, Williams has done all the right things during this round of organized team activities. And although he is an undrafted rookie battling for a 53-man roster spot, he impressed enough to earn time with the starters.
There’s no telling how many receivers the Dolphins will keep on the 53-man roster. But one thing is for certain, if Williams can keep his head on straight and continue to do all the right things on AND off the field, Miami may have found a diamond in the rough.