WR Stephen Williams Continues to Impress

Rookie WR Stephen Williams celebrates after one of his two receptions during Arizona's pre-season game against Houston.

Do you know who Stephen Williams is?  No, well that’s alright.  Almost no one outside of Flagstaff does, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily stay that way.  The 6′, 5″, 205 lb. rookie out of Toledo continues to impress at Cardinals’ training camp, making catch after catch in his attempt to make the final roster.

Although Williams currently plays in relative obscurity, he’s no stranger to accomplishment.  He set Toledo’s all-time receiving records for catches (229) and yards (3,102).  Apparently these accomplishments weren’t enough to get him drafted, but Williams revealed that after the draft, 16 teams made “phone calls trying to get me to go to their program.”  Williams chose Arizona.

Why Arizona?  “Because he was meant to come to us,” was Whisenhunt’s response.  Williams himself had a slightly more specific answer.   “Just a good organization and a good fit,” the rookie explained.  “[It’s] an opportunity for me to get on the field of play and learn from one of the best receivers.”

Larry Fitzgerald, who’s currently rehabbing a sprained MCL, will certainly help to elevate Williams’ game in the long run if he makes the team, but Stephen has hit the ground running all by himself.  Along with Fitzgerald’s injury, Ed Gant and Early Doucet have also missed time due to injury giving Williams a chance to showcase his talent without a crowded stage.  It’s a fortuitous set of circumstances, considering he’s battling Onrea Jones, Ed Gant, and fellow rookie Andre Robertsfor the 4th wide receiver spot.  The battle is far from over, with three weeks of pre-season left.

As always, Whisenhunt is cautiously optimistic about what he sees from Williams.  “He’s a young player, he hasn’t gone against a No. 1 defence in the NFL yet,” Whisenhunt said.  “Going against some of those corners is going to be a little bit different.  But you certainly like the way he’s started off.” 

Currently, the edge for the 4th wide receiver spot must go to Williams.  Although Andre Roberts has made some dazzling catches, he hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Williams, who’s made plenty of difficult catches too.  In the NFL, consistency at wide receiver is the name of the game as most coaches have little patience for dropped passes, even if a receiver is a big play threat.

The Cardinals have recently signed rookie Mike Jones from Arizona State to fill the vacancy left by released free safety Aaron Rouse.

The Complete Wide Receiver Picture: The following is what I believe the wide receiver depth chart would look like if the regular season started right now, regardless of injury.

  1. Larry Fitzgerald – sprained MCL
  2. Steve Breaston – healthy
  3. Early Doucet – abdominal strain; mostly recovered
  4. Stephen Williams (rookie) – healthy
  5. Onrea Jones – healthy
  6. Andre Roberts (rookie) – healthy
  7. Ed Gant – sprained foot
  8. Mike Jones (rookie) – healthy

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