The Arizona Cardinals made an investment in their wide receiver group — one of the groups most desperate for a makeover — this offseason. They signed Brice Butler to a two-year deal. They also drafted local Arizona kid Christian Kirk in the 2nd round.
But what may be getting overlooked the most is the growth of Chad Williams. Some depth charts out there are already discounting him, placing Larry Fitzgerald as the #1 receiver (obviously), Kirk at #2 and Butler at #3. Who’s to say Williams can’t take hold of one of those spots?
Williams has everything you would want physically in a guy to eventually replace Fitz when he decides to hang up the cleats. He plays with a big physical presence at 6’2” and 200 pounds. He was likely under-drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft because of some off-field concerns, none of which seem to have re-emerged since he was chosen by the Cardinals a year ago.
One thing that Williams needed to work on most following last season was his route running ability. He’s not going to be a pure speed guy like Kirk, so one way in which he is going to have to “win” against opposing corners and safeties is through running crisp routes with good footwork to get separation. The lack of ability to get that separation really limited him in his rookie season.
Still, Williams has the physical tools to be a really good player. Steve Keim apparently thought the same thing when he took him 98th overall last year. He can be a nice edge blocker on running plays and can make himself into a viable red zone option with his frame size.
Yes, Cardinals fans have every right to be excited about Christian Kirk, and for good reason. But let’s not let Williams escape our sights so soon.