Atlanta Falcons: Making a case for wide receiver Nick Williams
With three weeks of the 2015 preseason in the books, and cuts looming, there is a guessing game going on among Falcons fans as to which of the fan favorites the team will keep. This seems to be the case every year for those who pay close attention to the team throughout preseason play.
Last year’s breakout fan favorite was Bernard Reedy, a speedy UDFA receiver out of Toledo who caught everyone’s attention and rightfully gained the nickname “Speedy Reedy”. This year another receiver has emerged who has not only shown value, but also the grit and fast and physical play Coach Quinn so heavily emphasizes. His name is Nick Williams.
The Case Against Williams
The Atlanta Falcons have no shortage of talent at the wide receiver position. In fact, one can debate that the teams receiving core still has top-5 talent, even with an ageing Roddy White, an unproven Leonard Hankerson, rookie Justin Hardy, and special team aces Devin Hester and Eric Weems.
Reason being is that they all back the phenomenal Julio Jones, who is coming off of an NFC-best 1,593 yard season (third best in the NFL). With the incredible talent of Jones and the great depth behind him, the Falcons have no immediate need for a seventh receiver to take up an extra roster spot.
The Case for Williams
If you have seen the first three preseason games, you understand the case for Williams before I even mention it. The small-bodied wideout has shown up big time when his name has been called. In the Week 1 matchup against the Tennessee Titans, Williams was targeted three times and caught each one for 36 yards.
Against the New York Jets, he was targeted six times and caught four of those for 43 yards. In a gritty game against the Miami Dolphins, Williams caught four of his seven targets for another 43 yards. Of these yards, 16 came on a WR screen in the fourth quarter with the Falcons down 13-9 to Miami with a little over two minutes left on the clock.
Williams caught the pass, broke two tackles, and turned what should have been a 1-yard gain into a 16-yard pickup, taking the Falcons into Dolphins territory. Though Atlanta was not able to capitalize on the great field position resulting from that play, Williams showed that he was more than prepared to step up when his number was called.
Could the Falcons once again part ways with Weems, this time to make room for a receiver who has formerly played for the current offensive coordinator and takes on the mantra that Coach Quinn has emphasized for the team?
So what will happen?
No one really can predict exactly who a team will cut and who they will keep at the end of the year. While the Falcons do have some solid depth at the position, I wouldn’t absolutely count out Nick Williams making the roster and becoming a part of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons football team.
What are your thoughts?