Preston Williams’ rise from undrafted rookie to playmaking receiver for the Dolphins was one of the 2019 NFL season’s best stories.
Unfortunately for Williams, a torn ACL ended his season after eight games. Now healthy, Williams is ready to emerge as one of the league’s top young receivers, whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa throwing his way.
Between Williams’ on-field play and his maturity, the Miami Dolphins should be impressed about his future in Florida.
Preston Williams impressed as an undrafted rookie
Standing 6 foot 5 inches and weighing 218 pounds, Preston Williams has long used his size to his advantage.
After starting his career at Tennessee, Williams broke out in 2018 and turned 96 catches into 1,345 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Colorado State Rams.
Williams went undrafted partly because of a September 2017 arrest for domestic violence. The arrest, which ended in him pleading guilty to harassment charges, prevented him from attending the NFL combine
Miami signed Williams as an undrafted free agent following the draft. Nicknamed “The Unicorn,” Williams broke out for 32 catches, 428 yards, and three touchdowns in eight games.
Had Williams stayed healthy, he was on pace to end the season with 64 catches, 856 yards, and six touchdowns.
Williams is recovering from a knee injury
Only a few weeks into his NFL career, Preston Williams tore his ACL last November.
The injury didn’t stop the Dolphins from going 4-4 without Williams in the lineup. But it was clear, especially after Miami drafted Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in April, that they needed a healthy Williams to escape the AFC East Division’s basement.
Miami received good news in early-August when doctors cleared Williams to return.
The Dolphins listed Williams as a starting receiver in their Week 1 depth chart. DeVante Parker, who set career-highs in catches (72), receiving yards (1,202), and touchdowns (nine) last year, is the Dolphins’ other starting receiver.
Parker battled a hamstring injury leading up to the Dolphins’ Week 1 opener.
Preston Williams could have a huge 2020 season
If the Miami Dolphins want to contend for the playoffs in a weak AFC East Division, they’ll need Preston Williams to take a giant step forward.
In a recent media session with reporters, Williams addressed his progress both in recovery and in Chan Gailey’s new offense.
According to The Palm Beach Post, Williams said is aware what the expectations are this year.
“Coach told me I need to have a better jump from year one to year two. I’ve just been focusing, trying to improve my game, learn more positions. This year, there’s probably a lot more on the plate. Trying to manage everything, since I was a rookie last year, still getting my feet wet.”
The road to that “better jump” begins Sunday, September 13, against the rival New England Patriots. Williams caught four passes for 63 yards in a loss to the Patriots last September.