Cards Pick Small-School Star In Third-Round

After spending their first two picks of the 2017 NFL Draft on the defensive side of the ball, the Arizona Cardinals got Carson Palmer a little help selecting Grambling wide receiver Chad Williams with their third-round pick (98th overall).

General manager Steve Keim has never shied away from selecting small school players and the pick of Williams from the Division I-AA is no different. The 6-foot-1, 204-pounder led the SWAC with 90 catches for 1,337 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named a second-team FCS All-American and first-team all-conference pick after helping lead the Tigers to the SWAC Championship.

“Big, fast, physical,” Keim said to the assembled media shortly after the selection. “[He] has all the tools to be a really good player.”

Williams showed those tools this past season catching 13 passes for 152 yards as the Grambling nearly pulled off the upset of the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson back on September 10th. Many scouts say he plays bigger than his measurables. His numbers jumped in production each year with the Tigers.

“I absolutely love Chad,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s very physical with his hands. We were looking for a bigger, more physical, fast receiver.”

Like other Cards’ draft picks of the recent past, Williams arrives in the desert with some baggage after being charged with marijuana possession and possession of firearms when LSU campus police checked out a parked vehicle in which he sitting.

Asked about the incident in pre-draft meetings with the Cardinals and other teams, Williams approach was simple.

“I told them the 100% truth,” he said without hesitation Friday night. “It will never happen again. It really taught me a lot in the whole process.”

The Cardinals believe it was an isolated incident.

“Wrong place, wrong time type of deal,” Keim said. “All the charges were dismissed. We’re comfortable with his background.”

2017 Draft Class

Williams joins Temple linebacker Haason Reddick and Washington safety Budda Baker as the Cardinals’ draft selections. 


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