One of the things I love about Turf Show Times in 2015 is that the newness has fully worn off. Coming around to a piece from 2010 is one of those things that it's hard to believe can exist fully within TST landscape, but it's where we are now.
It's also fun when the story mirrors the career and trajectory of an NFL player's career as it has with WR Damian Williams. Five and a quarter years ago, Van was tracking Williams and QB Colt McCoy visiting the Rams ahead of the 2010 NFL Draft. Instead, he was drafted by he Jeff Fisher-coached Tennessee Titans in the third round. Fast-forward to, uh, right now, and we're looking at Williams trying to hold on to the last threads of his professional career with his former head coach and fellow WR corps member Kenny Britt.
Time 'n stuff.
We've talked about the WR battle ahead in previous roster previews for Isiah Ferguson (here), Tyler Slavin (here) and Bradley Marquez (here).
Top tier: Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Britt, Chris Givens and Brian Quick.
Second tier: Emory Blake, Ferguson, Marquez, Daniel Rodriguez, Slavin, Williams and Devon Wylie.
Again, last year's 53-man going into the regular season had five WRs active, though Bailey was under suspension at the time and didn't count against.
This one's tough.
On one hand, you clearly have an NFL career coming to a close. In 2011, the first year post-Fisher in Mike Munchak's three-year run, Williams hit career highs across the board. His 13 starts, 94 targets, 45 receptions, 592 yards and 5 TDs all stand out as career highs. In fact, it's not close. His second-highest totals in each? 2/45/30/324/0. After two declining seasons thereafter, Williams spent 2014 as a castoff option for Miami and eventually St. Louis.
On the other hand, he's a former third-round prospect with a season like 2011 under his belt. Clearly, he has more natural talent than many options in that second tier. The question is how much of that can be extracted in the next two months.
Chances of Making Final Roster (4/10)
That he has that talent and that production extractable gives him a huge leg up on his peers. He starts with the lead out of the gate. Whether or not he makes good on it, or even can now at 27-years old and coming off of a stagnant 2014, will be uncovered throughout training camp and the preseason.