The Indianapolis Colts made a roster move on Tuesday morning, signing wide receiver Chad Williams off of their practice squad while placing Chester Rogers on season ending Injured Reserve. A former 3rd round pick of the Cardinals in 2017, Williams’ career hasn’t exactly panned out the way we all expected. While spending the first two seasons of his career with the Cardinals, he was released prior to this season with a new coaching staff in place. He has spent the entire 2019 season up to this point on the Colts’ practice squad.
In today’s quick film room, we will be looking at five plays of Williams’ film to see what he could possibly bring to this Colts’ team in 2019.
6’0” 207 pounds
20 catches for 202 yards and one touchdown. One rush for nine yards.
Williams is a pure outside receiver who wins with pretty good releases against press man coverage. Here is a great example of his releases off the line. He sells the route up field before making a physical move inside to get the separation he needs. This strength is a vital part of his game as he prefers to out muscle receivers in his route tree rather than winning with nuanced route running. He knocks the cornerback off balance with a strong arm move to the inside to make the catch.
Another example here of Williams winning in his route even though he doesn’t possess the best footwork or most nuanced route running. He starts off with a good hesitation off of the line to catch the corner off balance. After that, he starts up field selling the vertical route. He then leans into the defender to the outside which makes the defender beleive this could be an out breaking route while also taking away the corner’s leverage by being physical. Once he establishes this position, he is able to break inside for an opening in the end zone. While the throw is off the mark, this is a good route utilizing a good release and leverage to find an opening.
Williams is not a quick or twitchy receiver but it is pretty impressive how he wins in his routes regardless. Here he is working against Richard Sherman in press and is still able to find an opening on the play. He starts with his go-to hesitation move off the line that allows him to get free against the press coverage. He then sets up his route well by favoring an out route with a jab step to the outside. This fools Sherman just enough and Williams is able to find space over the middle. He extends away from his frame to make a nice catch in traffic as one of the league’s best corners contacts him. Nice catch but the true highlight is the technique in his route running to get free.
Physicality is a big part of playing on the outside in the NFL. The ability to fight through contact in your route and even create separation with contact is vital for receivers who aren’t elite route runners. Williams shows that ability right here. Working against Chris Harris Jr, he is running a deep curl to the sticks. He gets up field quick and sinks his hips at the marker. Harris Jr reads this and contacts Williams at the top of his route. Williams is able to fight through this and work his way back into the route and back to the ball. He comes back to the pass and makes an excellent catch in traffic away from his frame for a first down.
Finally, receivers have to be able to improvise and find openings even when the initial play is taken away. Williams is running a post route against single high coverage here which is easily taken away by the deep safety. He keeps working in the route though and finds the open space in the corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown. Working after the play is initially taken away is a good trait for a receiver to possess in this league.
Chad Williams is a receiver who hasn’t exactly panned out in this league yet has some intriguing traits to work with. He has good speed and plays with a good level of physicality in his routes. He wins with good releases off of the line of scrimmage and showcases good hands when catching away from his frame.
He was somewhat miscast in Arizona as they tried to use him too much as a vertical threat in their offense. If the Colts end up using him at all this year, the best role would be to use him as more of a second level threat over the middle where he can win with his strengths. We will see if the Colts actually plan to use this intriguing receiver in the final four games of the season.