With Will Fuller out, it’s Wendall Williams’ time to shine

Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images /

Houston Texans wide receiver Wendall Williams has the opportunity to fill the role Will Fuller played last season with his world class speed, if he can prove it in the preseason.

Wendall Williams came onto the scene last offseason when he ran a blazing sub 4.3 40 yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. At the same time, the Houston Texans were just introducing their new prize possession: rookie first round selection Will Fuller. This overshadowed the story of a 26 year-old track star finally earning a spot on an NFL roster.

The coaching staff in Houston accomplished their goal: acquire more speed for their offense. That was then. Fast-forward to a year later and both Williams and Fuller are still on the team but some things have changed.

When the Texans lost the 22nd overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, many overlooked it. Sure, Fuller has drop issues and didn’t live up to expectations last season as a first rounder.

Fuller did however serve a specific role that every elite offense needs: a guy to take the top off of opposing defenses.

With Fuller out for the next 2-3 months after suffering a broken collarbone, the Texans need someone to step up. Many–myself included–looked at former third round selections Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong.

However, neither Strong or Miller has the same skill set as Fuller. They will be used in differentiating ways as well.

Strong is more of an intermediate threat while Miller is the future at the slot position.

Both will take some of the snaps originally devoted to Fuller, the Texans’ number two receiver coming into the season.

Neither of them will have the impact Fuller had before and after the snap.

Williams can match Fuller’s speed.

With Miller and Strong taking some big snap counts off of Williams’ shoulder, the Texans can use him in a unique way.

The Texans should give Williams a specific route tree, if they have not already, and treat him as they did Fuller last season.

That means a heavy dose of screens, go routes and slants. All of which Williams can handle–hopefully. This is still a guy who has very little NFL experience, making this preseason vital to his future in the NFL.

Fuller’s best asset was his speed. He could take the top off a defense unlike the other wide receivers last season.

Williams has that same speed. What he still needs to show is if he can hold onto the ball and be a reliable threat on offense.

He has captured some attention via the Texans’ Twitter account.

While originally it may not be an impressive catch, the focus needed to come down with that reception is not something to look down upon. Williams has to be more than just a deep threat to prove himself to be snap-worthy for O’Brien’s offense.

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Williams will likely be used sparingly and will hopefully excel in the role Fuller was in last season.

Williams is in a position to shock the world at best, or be a pivotal piece on a growing roster this upcoming season if he can show progress and ball out during the preseason.