Date of Publication: June 6, 2019
DAVIE — The first day of mandatory minicamp for the Miami Dolphins was a wet one. Rain fell in sheets over the practice field, drenching players and making even the simplest plays difficult to execute.
And undrafted rookie wide receiver Preston Williams finally messed up.
He lost the slippery football after it was poked out by a defender, meaning he had to take a run across the field to the “Takes No Talent” wall, where players have to run to after making a basic mistake.
“You don’t want to touch that wall, I can tell you that,” Williams said, smiling.
But the run was no big deal for Williams. It was the first time he had to touch the wall all offseason.
Williams has been a big surprise for the Dolphins throughout organized team activities and now in minicamp. His size and speed have allowed him to make big plays and haul in several impressive catches in the team’s drills.
“I just came in, just wanted to work, show them what I can do,” he said. “Really, I didn’t have any expectations coming in, I just came in ready to work.”
Despite some of his impressive plays, the undrafted rookie knows he still has plenty of room to improve. He jumped offsides not long after his first error on Tuesday, making a second trip to the “T.N.T” wall.
But the mistakes have been largely minimal, and the plays in between have been impressive enough to catch the attention of his teammates.
“It’s not like we sit down and talk at lunch every day, but he’s definitely flashed,” veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said during OTAs. “He’s definitely a guy that, as a quarterback, you take notice at some of the plays that he’s making. Like I said, great plays and boneheaded plays. We have to find a consistency there, but he certainly has enough talent to do it.”
Williams has also become a consistent target for second string quarterback Josh Rosen, especially in the endzone. He has been impressed with Williams’ talent level and physical attributes.
“He’s that big body that the NFL receivers are sort of based off of in that one-on-one position,” Rosen said during OTAs. “He’s a big body, a really talented guy with great hands and I’m really looking forward to developing with him.”
But Williams still has to work on his consistency. On Wednesday, he dropped an easy touchdown pass from Rosen, a play that he had made multiple times earlier during OTAs. But he is still happy with what he has accomplished so far this offseason, especially coming in as an undrafted free agent.
“I’m really proud of myself” he said. “Coach is always pushing me to go past my limits. … I’m growing, I’m evolving.”
Williams did not have the easiest path to the NFL. He signed with Tennessee as a top-rated recruit out of high school, but failed to break into the lineup after a couple of years.
He eventually transferred to Colorado State, where he ended up getting suspended due to a domestic violence arrest according to the The Coloradoan. But once he finally got onto the field for the Rams, he had an excellent campaign, finishing with 1,345 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
That performance wasn’t enough to get him drafted, but it did land him a spot with the Dolphins this offseason. Williams believes switching schools actually helped prepare him for learning a new offense with Miami.
“I came from two different systems, just learning verbiage, just learning two offenses within, in a year,” he said. “It’s kind of like you gotta put your big boy pants on, you gotta get ready.”
It’s not always easy for an undrafted free agent to make a strong impression and have a big impact on his team. But Williams isn’t letting his past weigh him down as he pushes to be with the Dolphins during the regular season.
“Everybody comes in with the same attitude, everybody is really just here to work,” he said. “Undrafted, drafted, first round. It doesn’t matter. Everybody’s equal.”