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.
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 Grambling State, and then ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at his pro day while checking in at 6-foot-1, 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.
An illness afforded Williams just one limited practice session this week. That said, the impetus for his return to the inactive list is the return of John Brown from turf toe, which forced a four-game absence. Williams is a good bet to be a DNP the last two weeks of his rookie campaign.
As he dealt with an illness this week, Williams followed a DNP/limited/DNP practice regimen. Reverting to no activity Friday after some Thursday isn't a great sign entering the weekend. His cause may be hurt further by the potential return of John Brown (turf toe) from a four-game absence. If Brown is cleared to play Sunday, Williams could be the odd man out in the receiving corps.