The 2019 Miami Dolphins season is over, and the team enters the offseason in the midst of a rebuild. The Dolphins own a vast array of draft picks and have needs all across the roster. However, they probably won’t address the wide receiver position thanks to the work of 2018 undrafted free agent Preston Williams. Initially climbing the depth chart following the Kenny Stills trade, Williams turned into one of the brighter spots on the roster before landing on injured reserve. Was his 2019 really as good as the stats indicate, and can he continue to grow moving forward?
Miami Dolphins Rookie Review: Preston Williams
2019 In Review
Right off the bat, Preston Williams demonstrated that he wasn’t your typical undrafted free agent. After scoring a touchdown in his NFL debut, the rookie recorded 63 yards against New England in Week 2. These strong performances earned him a full-time role in Week 3, and he stepped up to the challenge. Over the course of that six-week stretch, Williams recorded 25 receptions for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Williams’ final game of the season was one to remember, as his 72 yards and two touchdowns played a major role in upsetting Adam Gase and the New York Jets.
Pro Football Focus wasn’t as high on Williams, as they ranked him as the NFL’s 65th-best receiver. Going off raw numbers alone to evaluate players can be dangerous, and Williams definitely benefitted from having an aggressive quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, keeping him all the way down at 65 feels wrong. Williams demonstrated a genuine ability to get open deep, beat coverage, and win contested balls. Nobody is arguing he’s Randy Moss, but he was everything the Dolphins could have possibly hoped for, and more.
Preston Williams in 2020
The Miami Dolphins roster will probably look dramatically different next season. Armed with a projected $94.3 million in cap space, 13 draft picks, and a wide variety of needs, the Dolphins should be busy in the offseason. However, Williams should feel relatively safe sticking as the second wide receiver in the offense.
DeVante Parker turned into a genuine stud, and the Dolphins rewarded him with a massive extension during the season. Assuming a clean return to health, Williams and Parker should combine to form one of the better receiver duos in the league. However, coming back from injury is easier said than done. Recovering from an ACL is no joke and some players fail to find their old speed right out of the gate.
The good news is that Williams tore his ACL relatively early in the season. ACL rehab has come a long way in recent years, so Williams should be ready for the start of 2020. Assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks along the way, Williams should come back to the field with a clean bill of health to make life easier for whoever the quarterback is in September. If he hits the ground running and plays all 16 games, Williams has an outside shot of hitting 1,000 receiving yards.
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