Dolphins depth chart release places Preston Williams high as trade rumors circulate – The Denver Post


Is Preston Williams’ placement on the Miami Dolphins’ preseason depth chart legitimate? Or is it a ploy to increase his trade value?

The Dolphins released their initial 2022 depth chart on Monday with relatively few surprises, but Williams, the receiver who has voiced displeasure with his opportunities this training camp, was positioned rather high. With Miami listing two wide receiver spots offensively, Williams was one of the second-teamers, along with Cedrick Wilson Jr., after Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle as the starters.

That puts him ahead of rookie Erik Ezukanma, who has been a major training camp standout with big plays downfield in nearly every practice, and Trent Sherfield, a veteran who spent last year on the 49ers with coach Mike McDaniel and wide receivers coach Wes Welker in San Francisco while also contributing on special teams.

Williams’ placement also comes the same day as a Sports Illustrated report stating the Dolphins “talked to other teams about potentially moving veteran receivers Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden Jr.” Bowden is listed as a third-team wideout, along with Sherfield.

Ezukanma is positioned all the way back as one of the No. 5 receivers, along with undrafted rookie Braylon Sanders, which could be a motivational tool on the rookies. The fourth-team wideouts are veterans Mohamed Sanu, who signed with Miami right before camp, and River Cracraft, also a McDaniel-Welker player from San Francisco.

Williams’ camp complaints were sparked by a tweet last week about lacking opportunities. After McDaniel was empathetic with Williams in his public remarks, Williams doubled down when speaking to reporters the following practice.

“I just feel like I’m not getting the opportunities I deserve, simply scripted-wise, not being on the field-wise,” he said. “If I got a go route, they’re going to play over the top and script it like that. Opportunities to show that I can beat my man, that’s all.”

Williams, a 6-foot-5 target, has seen his on-field production consistently decline since standing out as an undrafted rookie for the Dolphins in 2019. After 32 receptions for 428 yards that year, he then had 18 catches for 288 yards in 2020 and just six receptions for 71 yards last season. Mostly invisible this camp, Williams had two catches for sizable gains in Sunday’s practice.

Also noteworthy on the Dolphins’ depth chart, they list Hill as the team’s starting punt returner. Miami signed Hill to a four-year, $120 million deal in trading for him this offseason, and big-money players rarely get sent out on kick and punt returns. The last time Hill did it consistently for the Chiefs was 2018.

Running back Raheem Mostert was listed as the top kick returner, and he too has not been active in that regard in recent years. Waddle is listed as the backup on both kick and punt returns.

The Dolphins listed two top tailbacks, and Edmonds and Mostert got those nods. Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin were placed on the second team.

A training camp battle for a starting role has come at one outside linebacker opposite Jaelan Phillips. Melvin Ingram is currently the starter over Andrew Van Ginkel. At inside linebacker, rookie and third-round pick Channing Tindall is on the third team with Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts the first-teamers and Duke Riley and Sam Eguavoen on second.

With Byron Jones on the physically-unable-to-perform list, Nik Needham was the top cornerback opposite Xavien Howard as the defense listed two cornerbacks. Needham figures to primarily play the nickel when both Howard and Jones are healthy. Noah Igbinoghene and Keion Crossen were listed on the second team.

The Dolphins starting offensive line goes, from left to right: Terron Armstead, Liam Eichenberg, Connor Williams, Robert Hunt and Austin Jackson. Guard Solomon Kindley, a starter in 2020 whose opportunities evaporated last season, is listed on third team.

The Dolphins have joint practices with the Buccaneers in Tampa on tap for Wednesday and Thursday ahead of their preseason opener on Saturday.



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