Chad Williams will compete for a starting job with the Cardinals this season, or he could find himself No. 5 on the depth chart. It will likely depend on his performance in training camp. Williams didn't make much of an impact as a rookie in 2017, but this year he could be the starter opposite Larry Fitzgerald. He will battle J.J. Nelson, rookie Christian Kirk and Brice Butler for the starting job, and hopefully Williams proves he deserves a bigger role. But regardless of his place on the depth chart, Williams should play a lot more than he did as a rookie, when he was limited to six games. He's worth keeping an eye on in training camp, and if he opens the season as the starter, he's worth a late-round pick in deeper leagues. He's also someone to monitor during the season because if he plays well you can consider adding him off waivers.
Williams (knee) is expected to play in Saturday's preseason opener against the Chargers, Kyle Odegard of the Cardinals' official site reports. Williams missed practice time in training camp due to tendinitis in one of his knees, but his ability to suit up Saturday suggests the issue isn't a huge deal. Competing for depth slotting under the legendary Larry Fitzgerald, Williams probably won't enter the game until the second-team offense comes in, but there's still a chance he could see some reps with the first-teamers.
Williams returned to practice Thursday after a bout with knee tendinitis, Kyle Odegard of the Cardinals' official site reports. Williams was a regular inactive as a rookie last year, seeing game action just six times when John Brown wasn't healthy enough to suit up. The Cardinals revamped their receiving corps during the offseason, allowing Brown and Jaron Brown to leave in free agency and bringing in Brice Butler, 2018 second-round pick Christian Kirk and Greg Little. There is thus much uncertainty behind clear No. 1 wideout Larry Fitzgerald. Williams has an opportunity to fill in behind the long-time Cardinal, but an injury could hinder those prospects, especially one that can linger like tendinitis.
Williams will compete for one of 2-3 open spots on the wide receiver depth chart behind Larry Fitzgerald and 2018 second-round pick Christian Kirk this offseason, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic reports. A third-rounder in last year's draft, Williams remained on the 53-man roster for his entire rookie campaign but only made six appearances, all coinciding with John Brown DNPs. Brown and Jaron Brown have since moved on in free agency, leaving a likely 2018 receiving corps of Fitzgerald, Kirk, holdover J.J. Nelson, free-agent addition Brice Butler and Williams. Williams has great measurables, running a 4.43 40 at his pro day at 6-foot-1, 204 pounds, but was unable to put together consistent run as a rookie. With a year of experience under his belt, he has a great chance to carve out a role working with the accurate, but injury-prone, Sam Bradford or rookie Josh Rosen in his second season.
Williams will face competition from recent acquisition Brice Butler during training camp, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official website reports. A 2017 third-round pick, Williams typically was a healthy scratch during his rookie season, ultimately catching only three passes in six games. The offseason departures of John Brown (Ravens) and Jaron Brown (Seahawks) cleared out space on the Arizona depth chart, but Williams will still need to compete with Butler and J.J. Nelson -- and likely a draft pick or two -- for slotting behind top target Larry Fitzgerald. Williams caught 90 passes for 1,337 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior season at FCS school Grambling State, and then ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at his pro day while checking in at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds. Health permitting, Sam Bradford should provide a significant upgrade on the Cardinals' ugly quarterback situation from the second half of last season.
Williams was active for six games during the 2017 season. All of Williams' appearances coincided with John Brown's DNPs, but the 2017 third-round selection wasn't unable to make may inroads as a receiver. While he hauled in three of his seven targets for 31 yards, he surpassed all of that production with a 33-yard run, his second and last of the campaign, during Week 14 against the Titans. With John Brown, Jaron Brown and Brittan Golden all hitting unrestricted free agency, and Larry Fitzgerald potentially following Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians into retirement, Williams could make a quick ascension in the receiving corps in his sophomore season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||@Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|5||10/07||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|8||10/28||San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|10||11/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|12||11/25||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|13||12/02||@Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|16||12/23||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||7||3||31||0||1||10.33||6|