Dolphins’ big catch: undrafted receiver Preston Williams |

Dolphins’ big catch: undrafted receiver Preston Williams

Associated Press
Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams makes a catch in front of Falcons cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson during the first Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins posted a tweet Saturday of a new, nearly life-size photo covering an elevator door at the stadium. It showed rookie Preston Williams making an acrobatic catch in the team’s first exhibition game.

“That’s so awesome!” Williams tweeted in response.

The Dolphins agree.

Their undrafted rookie was the game’s biggest star Thursday with four receptions for 97 yards, including a diving catch for 16, a leaping grab over a defender for 27, and a one-hander for 36.

The breakout performance wasn’t exactly a surprise because Williams has been Miami’s most impressive rookie in training camp.

“That guy can be special,” said teammate Xavien Howard, a Pro Bowl cornerback. “He’s just a rookie. There is so much room for improvement with him, but he’s going to be a No. 1 receiver one day.”

Williams had 14 touchdown catches as a senior last year at Colorado State and was touted by at least one draft prognosticator as a potential first-round pick. But because of his 2017 arrest on misdemeanor charges stemming from a domestic dispute, his invitation to the NFL Combine was pulled.

He then went undrafted and signed as a free agent with Miami. Under first-year coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins have shown a willingness to give players with off-the-field issues another chance.

“People forget these guys are just kids,” Flores said Saturday. “I remember being a 21-, 22-, 23-year-old, and I didn’t make the best decisions. We’ve got to teach these young people. That’s our job as coaches and educators and leaders. We’re doing that for Preston and all our rookies and young players and even our vets as well.”

The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Williams thought he was the best receiver in the draft but said he’s not bitter about being passed over.

“Everything is an opportunity, and it doesn’t matter if you’re drafted in the first round or undrafted,” he said. “Everybody’s got the same opportunity, so that’s how I look at it.”

He’s taking full advantage. All of his catches in Miami’s win over Atlanta came on throws from Josh Rosen, who happened to be Williams’ teammate at a 7-on-7 camp in Oregon when both were in high school.

The spotlight is a bit brighter now.

“When my number was called, I just wanted to answer,” Williams said.

Said Rosen: “Preston can go get the ball.”

Williams’ receptions made TV highlights and the stadium elevator, and he also earned praise for less-glamorous assignments, including on special teams.

“He played tough, he played physical, he blocked in the run game,” Flores said. “He wanted to make his presence felt obviously from a receiving standpoint but really in all phases.

“But one good game doesn’t make you a superstar. This league is all about consistency. I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves with Preston. He’s got a long way to go.”

Before Williams becomes a No. 1 target, he must make the roster, and receiver is perhaps the Dolphins’ deepest position. His next chance to make his case will come in Tampa, where the Dolphins will practice at midweek against the Buccaneers and then play them Friday.

Categories: Sports | NFL
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.