Before the start of Chargers training camp, not too many people knew the name Tyrell Williams.
But now, the former NCAA Division II product has emerged as San Diego’s top surprise, and a possible addition to the Chargers’ deep wide receiving core once final roster cuts are made.
Williams – who played at Western Oregon University and went undrafted back in April – has dazzled the Chargers with his size, speed, routes and ability to make crucial catches to keep late offensive drives alive. Against Seattle on Aug. 29, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound target hauled in three receptions for 20 yards during San Diego’s final scoring drive in the 16-15 loss to the Seahawks. Before the Seattle game, he caught three passes for 36 yards in the 22-19 victory against Arizona on Aug. 22.
Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reported that Williams has built a good rapport with San Diego receivers coach Fred Graves. The former Western Oregon receiver’s attributes has won over another prominent fixture in San Diego: quarterback Phillip Rivers, who gave the Division II prospect this nickname – little Malcolm – which parallels to the Chargers’ star wideout Malcolm Floyd.
“If they want to compare me to him, that’s awesome,” Williams told ESPN.com on Aug. 28. “I’ll take that for sure.”
It’s easy to see why Williams looks like a younger version of Floyd. They’re both near similar in height and frame, they’re tall options on inside routes, they played their college football outside of a Power Five conference school and they can torch defensive backs deep down the field.
Williams’ Hudl film shows him beating a secondary in a variety of ways. He uses a head fake to fool a cornerback with where he’s going and then accelerates to a second gear once the catch is made. He’s shown his fortitude on the “suicide routes,” the catches that are made in the middle of the field. He’ll not only snatch the ball with three defenders surrounding him, but he goes into a running back mode by burying his shoulders and keeping his feet moving to fight for extra yards.
If Williams makes the final roster, he’ll blend right in with the Chargers’ tall weapons on the perimeter. The shortest wide receivers on the current roster are 6-foot-2, and that includes free agent pickups Jacoby Jones and Stevie Johnson. With his breakout preseason and the camaraderie he’s establishing with the Chargers’ brass, Williams has increased his chances to make the Chargers’ final cut.
“When you start doing better and other people take notice, it’s definitely a good thing,” Williams said to ESPN.com. “It’s trying to keep the consistency going, that’s really my main focus right now.”
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