The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver depth chart looks great on paper. It's not been this deep in years. But with Leonard Hankerson and Devin Hester banged up, guys like Nick Williams and Justin Hardy will need to step up. If this offense is going to emerge from its recent "funk," Julio Jones can't shoulder the entire workload. This team needs role players. And it needs those role players to play their role. In comes Williams, the 5'10, 185 pound former undrafted free agent.
Williams' appeal is simple: he basically just gets open in clutch situations. He's only got 9 receptions this year, but 7 were first downs. He's averaging over 10 yards/reception. He's the very definition of a role player. The Mothership's Andrew Hirsh recently wrote a must-read piece about Williams and Dan Quinn's praise of his work ethic and mindset. Read it, if you haven't already.
And, though the Falcons entered camp deep at receiver, Williams' strong work ethic and reliable hands earned him a spot on the 53-man roster. "I think it's just the work and mindset that he has. He's one of the best competitors we have," Quinn said. "And that's really how he played his way on to the team, in terms of, ‘OK, you're here because of the way you battle and compete.'"
I'll be honest, it's hard not to chuckle watching Williams work. He's very enthusiastic about catching the football. He just grabs the football like his life depends on it. For him, his job and NFL career do depend on it. But as role players go, the Falcons could do far worse.