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Cardinals Grab Wideout Chad Williams In Third

Posted Apr 28, 2017

Team traded down with Panthers before selecting small-school pass-catcher

Grambling State wide receiver Chad Williams turned heads with a great Pro Day.

Bruce Arians welcomed Chad Williams to the Cardinals with a phone call on Friday night, but it wasn’t long until he was throwing down the gauntlet.

Expectations generally aren’t sky-high for third-round picks, especially ones from small schools. However, the Grambling State product is hoping to become the next in a long line of Arians’ wide receiver success stories.

The Cardinals coach has been fantastic at identifying impact pass-catchers in the third round, helping nab Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, T.Y. Hilton and John Brown over the past nine years.

“I told him, ‘You’ve already got a legacy you’ve got to live up to,’” Arians said.

Williams was added with the No. 98 overall pick, a late third-rounder the Cardinals acquired in a trade of their No. 77 pick to the Panthers. The Cardinals also added Carolina’s fourth-rounder, making up for the one they lost in a deal to grab Washington safety Budda Baker earlier in the day.

Williams is listed at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds, and impressed at his Pro Day by running in the low 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash while doing 21 reps on the bench press.

The Cardinals were looking for a big-bodied receiver, since Larry Fitzgerald is close to retirement and J.J. Nelson and John Brown are both diminutive speedsters. However, Arians wasn’t going to compromise his love for fast wideouts in pursuit of a big one.

“I don’t like slow guys,” Arians said. “I don’t give a (expletive) how big they are. You’ve got to be able to run past people. If you come in a big, strong, physical package, that’s even better.”

Interest grew in Williams after his Pro Day performance, although he said none of the marks he put up surprised him.

“It actually felt like I sat back and watched myself at Pro Day, because I knew what was going to happen,” he said.

The Cardinals went down to Grambling State before the draft to learn more about Williams, and came away impressed with his character. He was charged with marijuana possession and possession of a firearm last year, but both Keim and Williams called it a “wrong place, wrong time” incident.

Williams said the charges were dismissed.

“I really learned from the situation,” Williams said. “Things like that will never happen again. It will never come up again. I let (teams) know how much I learned from it. It taught me a lot in the whole process.”

Williams finished his senior season with 90 catches for 1,337 yards and 11 touchdowns. He initially caught the Cardinals’ eye when he hauled in 13 passes for 152 yards against Arizona last season.

“I think that helped, because it showed that you can not only perform against Division I-AA but Power Five schools,” Williams said. “It shows your toughness, your heart, and it shows that you don’t care about the decal or the logo that’s on a guy’s jersey or a helmet. My mindset is, everybody puts their pants on the same way. We’re all human at the end of the day. It’s man-on-man, and let the best man win.”

That attitude will serve Williams well as he makes the jump to the NFL, where the cornerbacks will be much more talented than at the small school level. He hopes to make his mark, and if so, Arians’ streak of wide receiver success stories will continue.

“I’m just going to come in and be me, and I know for a fact I can live up to that third-round hype,” Williams said.

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