Dolphins’ Preston Williams cleared for breakout in 2020

A torn ACL ended Preston Williams’ rookie season early, but he has been cleared for football activities.

Before a torn ACL ended his rookie season in Week 8, Preston Williams proved himself as a find for the Miami Dolphins. On Monday, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN and others reported the 2019 undrafted free agent out of Colorado State has been cleared for football activities.

At the time of his injury against the New York Jets in Week 9 last year, Williams led all rookies in targets (60) and tied for the lead in catches (32) as he posted 428 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. He was also the Dolphins’ leading receiver up to that point, which was a surprise considering the season DeVante Parker had (72 receptions for 1,202 yards, nine touchdowns).

Williams notably built strong rapport with Josh Rosen last preseason. But there was little difference when Ryan Fitzpatrick was named the starter to open the season and stepped back in after Rosen got a chance. Turns out a 6-foot-5, 218-pound receiver with the requisite catch radius is an appealing target.

According to Player Profiler, Williams’ 15.9 percent “hog rate” (measuring targets per snap) was 17th-best in the NFL last year. So even with learning a new offense and Parker and Albert Wilson competing for targets at wide receiver, Williams should have significant role this season as long as he continues to make progress from from his knee injury. It’s worth noting he was cleared for football activities exactly nine months after the injury.

On the idea Parker will be a fantasy bust this year, Williams has been on the radar as a sleeper on the other end of the spectrum. Now cleared to do whatever qualifies as football activities at this point in time, the buzz around Williams should grow. There is a question of when Tua Tagovailoa will take over under center for the Dolphins, but as long as he’s healthy, Williams is lined up for a solid second-year breakout.

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