Dolphins undrafted rookie receiver Preston Williams continues to impress | South Florida Sun Sentinel

From: South Florida Sun Sentinel

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.”

About Christian Simmons 43 Articles
My name is Christian Simmons, and I recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with my master's degree in integrated business management. My undergrad degree from UCF is in journalism. I'm passionate about sports in all its forms. I've had internships with the Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, NPR affiliate WMFE and CBS affiliate WKMG. I'm also the co-founder and editor of Knight Sports Now, a student publication that has covered UCF sports since 2017. As a freelance reporter, my stories have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, The New Orleans Advocate, The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La. and the Baltimore Sun, among others.