Prior to being selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Grambling WR and 2nd Team FCS All-American, Chad Williams, turned heads by running a blistering 4.36 at his pro day. This followed a strong performance at the 2017 Senior Bowl, which caught the attention of the Rams’ then new head coach, Sean McVay, who welcomed Williams to LA for a pre-draft visit.
The major red flag on Williams was his arrest in 2016 while sitting in a car at LSU that contained a jar of marijuana, a loaded Desert Eagle handgun and an unloaded AK-46 assault rifle, plus a 20 round magazine. Grambling suspended him for the first game of the 2016 season, but after that, Williams improved on his 64/1,012/10 TD 2015 campaign by posting a 90/1,337/11 TD 1st team All-SWAC performance.
During the 3rd round the rumor was that the Cardinals were hoping to select WR Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) or LB Duke Riley (LSU), but the Rams and Falcons beat them to it. Thus, having already traded picks to move up in the 2nd round to take S Budda Baker (Washington), the Cardinals decided to trade their #77 pick to the Panthers (who took DE Daeshon Hall (Texas A&M) for the Panthers’ #98 (WR Chad Williams, Grambling) and 115th (G Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh) picks.
Thus far, that Panthers/Cardinals trade appears to be an ill-fated one as Daeshon Hall injured his knee in the first game of the 2017 season, was cut by the Panthers in 2018, signed to the Texans’ practice squad and then signed by the Eagles late last season. Meanwhile, Chad Williams has only 20 catches for 202 yards and 1 TD in two seasons, while Dorian Johnson was cut as a rookie and not even re-signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad.
Back in 2017 when Mike Mayock studied Chad Williams’ game tapes, he was impressed with Williams’ talent, Mayock had Williams rated higher than other pundits, most of whom projected Williams as 5th or 6th round pick.
The WR the Cardinals were hoping to take at #98 was Carlos Henderson (Louisiana Tech), but he was taken at #82 by the Broncos and then the Cardinals narrowly missed on Kenny Galloday at #96 by the Lions who, by contrast, has put up 98 catches for 1,540 yards and 8 TDs in his first two seasons.
While the Cardinals’ additions of UFA WRs Kevin White and Jarius Byrd and 2019 draft picks, WRs Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and DeeSean Johnson, have put Chad Williams squarely on the WR bubble, the good news for Williams is that the Cardinals are likely to keep 6 or 7 WRs on the 53 man roster. But that likely means he will have to beat out one or two of these additions.
Last year, Williams showed some brief flashes as a playmaker, catching 17 passes for 171 yards and his 1st NFL TD, plus running 3 jet sweeps for 42 yards (14.0 ave) the past two seasons combined. It would appear that Williams could be a good fit in the Cardinals’ new spread offense.
It is imperative for Chad Williams to come to camp in tip-top shape. Not only will he be running more routes than ever before, his will be running them at a faster pace between plays. Plus, making the roster may depend on his ability to be a stronger contributor on special teams. With his 4.3 speed and athleticism, he could turn into a very good gunner.
If he commands the football in practice and in throughout the pre-season games, Chad Williams could claim his roster spot and have a key role in the offense. It’s time now more than ever to prove why he was worthy of a top 100 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Here is a good reminder as to why the Cardinals were so high on Chad Williams when they drafted him:or Chad Williams it’s time for his talent to match his potential.