Chad Williams - Wide Receiver - Grambling State
Weight: 204 lbs
Vertical Jump (Pro Day): 35.5 inches
Broad Jump (Pro Day): 10-foot-3
40 Yard Dash (Pro Day): 4.37 seconds
Bench Press (Pro Day): 21 reps
NFL teams will look anywhere for talent, including what some used to call "lesser talent" in the FCS. That is not the case these days as we have seen several FCS stars make their way into the first day of the draft, headlined by Carson Wentz being selected No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in last year's draft.
This year's draft class is no different as many of the FCS' best are garnering recognition around the country, including Grambling State wide receiver Chad Williams.
Williams is looking to become the first Grambling State player to be drafted since 2006. While he will not be a first or second day pick, he has the traits that translate to the NFL. He plays hard on each snap - sometimes too hard - and has strong hands that allow him to win 50-50 balls. He has great leaping ability and his 40 time was much faster than most anticipated.
Williams has been a sensation throughout the winter and spring evaluations, but did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine. That's likely in part to off-the-field problems that NFL teams are sure to probe about.
One of the big question marks surrounding Williams is an arrest last May in which he was charged with possession of a firearm and marijuana, fugitive from justice and an outstanding bench warrant. Officers found a loaded 9 mm pistol, a loaded Desert Eagle handgun, an unloaded AK-47 assault rifle, a 20-round magazine and glass jar of marijuana in the SUV.
Williams was released on $5,000 bail and served a one-game suspension to start the 2017 season. NFL teams are sure to ask what he was doing at 3:40 am smoking weed on LSU's campus with a car full of guns.
What you cannot deny is his numbers on the field. He improved his numbers each season in Grambling’s up-tempo offense. If there is any concern about how he would far against better competition, look no further than his performance against Arizona this past season. He hauled in 13 passes for 152 yards against the Wildcats after serving his one-game suspension.
That would set the tone for the rest of the season, including a three-game stretch in which he posted 25 receptions for 481 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the Southwest Athletic Conference in receptions (90), yards (1,337) and touchdowns (11), earning first-team All-SWAC honors. He helped his team win the SWAC Championship and was named a FCS second-team All-American as well. Even with those accolades, it still was not enough to get him an invite to the combine.
He has fought his way back into the discussion of a possible draft choice with strong workouts this offseason. He impressed scouts at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and his efforts there earned him a late invite to the Senior Bowl, where he continued to shine. While he only recorded one catch in the game, he held his own with many of the top cornerbacks in the FBS during practices.
"He made one of the more impressive catches of the week on Wednesday, showing impressive timing, body control and concentration to snatch a deep ball between SEC stars Cam Sutton (Tennessee) and Justin Evans (Texas A&M) for a touchdown early in practice and has consistently made difficult grabs look easy, stretching his long (32-inch) arms to corral passes outside of his frame." - Rob Rang & Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
Williams continued to wow coaches and scouts at his Pro Day, where he posted incredible numbers. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash, which would have been faster than all but two wide receivers at the combine. Williams also showed he has terrific strength after finishing with 21 reps on the bench press. That would have been second-best in Indianapolis. His performance during the evaluation stage has surely improved his draft stock.
The workouts have been great, but Williams is far from polished as a receiver. He must work on his route running, and despite his speed, he struggles to create consistent separation from cornerbacks. He has straight line speed, but has difficulty adjusting to deep balls over his shoulder. He is physical after the catch, but lacks elusiveness in space. He also will need to learn to read NFL coverages.
In addition to his off-the-field problems, he got into a scuffle at the Senior Bowl with Miami safety Rayshawn Jenkins, and had to be separated by coaches. His temperament is sure to be a topic of discussion during meetings. NFL teams will not tolerate those types of antics from a late-round pick.
All that aside, Chad Williams is the classic case of a talented FCS player getting overlooked by scouts. He likely won't be taken until Day 3 of the draft, but he could be a steal in the back end of the draft for some team. This underdog will always be in an uphill battle, but has the tools to make a living in the NFL.