After beginning Friday evening with a trade to move up in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, the Cardinals elected to swap their third round pick with Carolina and move back 21 spots.
The wait was well worth it for Grambling State’s Chad Williams, who the Cardinals selected with the 98th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
After surrendering their 2017 fourth and sixth-round draft picks as well as their 2018 fourth-round pick in a trade with Chicago to move up nine slots in the second round, Arizona gained a 2017 fourth-round pick back from Carolina to move 21 spots back in the third round of this year’s draft.
The Cardinals have a history of drafting small-school prospects in the third round, and Williams certainly fits the bill. The four-year player at Grambling State nabbed 90 receptions for 1,337 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior season which followed a junior campaign in which he reached the 1,000-yard threshold and caught 10 touchdowns.
At 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds, Williams brings average size to Arizona’s receiver corps, but Williams was a big-time producer at the college level and showed up in a critical way with a 13-catch, 152-yard performance this season when Grambling State faced off against Arizona in Tucson.
Williams has clocked in at 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash and participated in this year’s Senior Bowl, but has also dealt with off-the-field issues during his career. Williams was reportedly charged with marijuana possession and possession of firearms on LSU’s campus prior to his senior season.
After his senior season, Williams was named an FCS Second Team All-American and for the second year in a row, he was named a First Team All-SWAC receiver.
Williams joins the Cardinals’ first round draft choice, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, and the team’s second round choice, Budda Baker, as the newest additions to the franchise.
The Cardinals decision to trade back came with Cal quarterback Davis Webb still on the board with the 77th overall pick, Arizona’s original slot, but the franchise clearly had plans that didn’t include pursuing a quarterback on Friday evening.
The third round has been kind to the Cardinals during the Steve Keim-Bruce Arians era, as it has netted the Cardinals with a pair of their top skill position players, running back David Johnson and wide receiver John Brown, both of whom came from small colleges. Additionally, the Cardinals used their 2013 third round draft choice on one of the franchise’s defensive pillars, safety Tyrann Mathieu.