Preston Williams’ football career thus far features a recurring rollercoaster sequence of events. From a budding 4-star recruit coming out of high school to transferring out of the University of Tennessee after his second year. Then having to sit a year and redshirt due to transferring to Colorado State, only to get in trouble off the field and suspended the rest of the season. Willaims finally started showing his true potential as a junior and proving to the Rams they didn’t have to miss Michael Gallup at all after being selected by Cowboys earlier that year. It’s an intriguing story. But the signs are pointing in the right direction. Let’s dig into that story and see why I think Preston Williams could truly benefit from being selected by the Miami Dolphins and become relevant in the NFL and for your dynasty rosters.
The Miami Dolphins’ undrafted signee obtained some high praise and recognition as one of the best incoming collegiate receivers in the nation upon graduating high school from Lovejoy, Georgia in 2015. The Tennessee Volunteers anticipated a significant impact from their 6’4” tall and freakishly fast (regardless of the 4.53 40-yard dash time on his pro-day) new receiver. However with an underwhelming workload, and differences with the coaching staff plagued Williams’ time with the Vols as his SEC tenure fizzled and flattened like an old soda without genuinely getting started in the first place. His production at Tennessee ended with him collecting 16 receptions for 247 yards, and 2 touchdowns across his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Williams left the SEC limelight for a second chance at Colorado State in the Mountain West Conference. Soon after arriving in Boulder, Willaims was arrested near campus following a domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend and subsequently plead guilty to multiple charges before ever stepping on the field for the Rams. A few weeks later Willaims ran into trouble again when he violated the restraining order from the prior incident. The NCAA suspended Williams for the remainder of the 2017 season and it left a tarnished mark on Williams’ reputation in Fort Collins. Luckily this narrative takes a better turn, and possibly facing his last chance to play college football, Williams rebuilt the team’s trust and went on to contribute a 96-reception, 1,345-yards, 14-touchdown campaign in his only season with the Rams. That’s 4th overall in yardage for any WR, and his 14 touchdowns ranked 3rd overall in NCAA football play for 2018.
Journey to the NFL
The Georgia native stayed in the public eye upon entering the 2019 NFL Draft following his dominant, 12-game collegiate tenure. Preston Williams has a knack for bouncing back and responding very well when doing so is his only option. Tennessee didn’t work out, so he eventually put it together and matured after a rocky beginning at CSU. The draft didn’t go his way, so all he needed was one golden opportunity to prove himself to the NFL. The Miami Dolphins granted him this possibility by signing him after the draft, and he is making the most out of his professional chance in both camps that have happened so far.
The NFL combine report on him from NFL.com read like this: “Williams was able to run by cornerbacks on tape, but the speed and explosion totals were disappointing for his pro day. Williams played in a pro-style passing attack and used his size and ball skills to attack secondaries successfully on all three levels. His character flags will likely cause him to drop, but there is the talent to cultivate if he can accept coaching and focus on football.” This serves as a big summary of why we saw Number 11 at CSU not become one of the 27 receivers taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. But this only fueled him and left him with a chip on his shoulder knowing that he is just as good if not better than half of those wideouts when it comes to physicality and knowing the position. He’s played the pro-style already and that gives him a big advantage in learning the playbook at the NFL level. It comes down to is his mentality, his drive, and motivation to succeed at the next level.
Luckily, Williams’ was picked up by a brand new coaching regime in Miami and new head coach Brian Flores, who seems to be giving players second chances. He did it earlier with signing Mark Walton after his off-the-field issues from last season that had him dismissed from the Bengals after facing a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon along with three misdemeanor charges: resisting an officer without violence, marijuana possession, and reckless driving. Walton now has a chance to compete for that 3rd spot in the backfield. Preston now gets that same clean slate and is not looking back. He’s going to be on a very tight leash with the NFL coming down hard on players who are unruly and not making smart decisions off the football field. Training camp will make or break if Williams will truly make this roster and show his dominance as a pass-catcher, making plays on the sidelines and in the red zone easily or will he let his mind wander away from the field and break his focus and forever be labeled a “knucklehead”.
Time to Ascend
Miami boasts a deep receiving corp, most of which are essentially locks to make the depth chart this season. The Dolphins provide a speedy, explosive trio of talented wideouts. Because Miami possesses only one established red zone target in DeVante Parker, who to be honest has had multiple opportunities to break out as “the guy” but it just hasn’t happened for him. People think with Adam Gase’s departure Parker now has a chance to change that narrative, but if we’re being honest he is a pre-season hype machine and still has a few good games but cools down as the season progresses. This team still lacks a big receiver who can capitalize on size and strength, possibly opening the window for Preston Williams. Unless the Dolphins choose to hold only four active receivers, Williams will likely battle for the final receiver spot with veteran candidate Brice Butler, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.
For me, regardless of who seizes the last spot on the bench, excelling through the offseason serves Williams’ chances of suiting up next season incredibly well, even if it isn’t in a Dolphins uniform. If the Dolphins try to stash him on their practice squad, any other NFL team can claim a player from the practice squad if they put in a request. But, I’ve seen the film and what he’s capable of. Do I feel he could steal the main role away? Yes. I think “Bert Alert” Albert Wilson is a reception nightmare and if healthy can help the Dolphins out tremendously, adding Kenny Stills to still be the splash player and go for the long balls, I truly believe Preston’s talent can outdo Parker in the endzone and really become an UDFA who can go from the floor to the ceiling of the fantasy football realm. In a sense, painfully watching as every receiver imaginable left the draft board has played in Williams’ favor. Unexpectedly going undrafted gave Williams a reality check, and if anything, inspired him to take his work more seriously than ever. He has gotten a lot of praise from the coaches for being great with his catching only dropping ONE pass all offseason, and that was in the rain and mud-soaked practice of mini-camp a couple of weeks ago. He seems to be the early favorite in the end zone and along the sidelines for Fitzpatrick and Rosen in 7 on 7 drills during practice. The pads will come on soon and OTA’s will start in less than two weeks, I’m just trying to let you know a college dominant WR is available on a lot of waiver wires for dynasty leagues and he’s worth the grab to put on the taxi squad. Be ready to activate him onto your main roster when he blows up. This is your warning shot fellow nerds.
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