For a couple of weeks before the draft, wide receiver Teddy Williams heard the comments from cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
“Oh, so you played corner your whole career.”
“You’re a big dude, we’d want you over here.”
“I thought,” Williams said, “it was just jokes.”
It wasn’t. During the draft, coach Bruce Arians called Williams and the two had a “nice, long conversation” about Williams moving from receiver to cornerback. It made a lot of sense, in part because the Cardinals drafted wide receivers John Brown and Walter Powell, and frankly, Williams’ chances to make the team on offense were probably shrinking given the additions. Arians even called Patrick Peterson (below, giving Williams pointers at a recent workout) about the Williams transition.
“Everybody wants me to do it and do it right,” Williams said. “(Arians) knows me as a corner because he met me as a corner.”
Indeed, this is not new ground for Williams. He did not play college football. Williams was a track guy, with excellent speed and a frame (6-foot-1 and 207 pounds) that figured to translate to football. So when he got to the NFL Williams bounced back and forth between positions. He originally signed with the Cowboys as a defensive back, only to be switched to wide receiver. When he went to the Colts, he was a cornerback, which is where Arians met him. But when the Cardinals signed him, they made him a wide receiver before he went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.
One of Williams’ strengths is his ability to play gunner on special teams. That does not change whether his given position is on offense or defense. But his 6-1 size does make him fit well into a cornerback group highlighted by the 6-1 Peterson and the 6-2 Antonio Cromartie and charged to play press man-to-man by Bowles.
“That’s my game,” Williams said. “Give ’em hell all day.”
Williams switched numbers, from 16 to 29. He said it took all of five minutes to sit in the defensive backs room and to have his comfort come flooding back. “I had a coach tell me when I was in Indy, ‘Same girl, different dress.’ ” Williams said.
The Cardinals have a lot of cornerbacks too, and Williams will have to fight for a spot on that side of the ball too. But he said he is on his way to getting back from the Achilles’ rehab and he expects to be ready for training camp. It’ll just happen to be on the defensive side of the ball.
“It’s not an uncomfortable switch,” Williams said. “The coaches were excited about it so I’m excited about it. It’s always good to be flexible. Maybe someone goes down during a game, you might need someone to run a (wide receiver) route, since Pat’s not going to be doing it anymore. Hey, the more you can do.”
Tags: Patrick Peterson, Teddy Williams
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