Dolphins WR Preston Williams impressing teammates

For a rebuilding Dolphins side in search of a starting quarterback, a starting running back and a team identity, Preston Williams' breakout performance on Thursday evening was a breath of fresh air.

Williams, an undrafted rookie out of Colorado State, made four receptions for 97 yards in the Fins' preseason win over Atlanta on Thursday, including three highlight-reel grabs.

While the rook introduced himself to the national football audience, Williams had been hinting at this type of performance in Dolphins training camp and already has his teammates raving about him.

"Preston can go get the ball," quarterback Josh Rosen offered, per the Associated Press.

Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard said, "That guy can be special. He's just a rookie. There is so much room for improvement with him, but he's going to be a No. 1 receiver one day."

What about today? Miami's top three receivers are all returning from last season -- DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, the latter of whom is still healing from a hip injury -- but there's still room farther down Miami's roster for a bargain-barrel find like Williams.

The former Tennessee wideout was no joke at Colorado State, hauling in 14 touchdowns just last season. However, he entered the pros with red flags. Williams was arrested in 2017 following an altercation with his girlfriend and pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. That's partially why a talent like Williams fell to Miami as a UDFA. The Dolphins, though, are giving him every chance to succeed.

"People forget these guys are just kids," first-year coach Brian Flores said Saturday, per AP. "I remember being a 21-, 22-, 23-year-old, and I didn't make the best decisions. We've got to teach these young people. That's our job as coaches and educators and leaders. We're doing that Preston and all our rookies and young players, and even our vets as well."

Williams' next opportunity to stake a claim for Miami's roster will come Friday night when the Dolphins take on Tampa Bay. Every practice, every game is a proving ground for Williams, who despite one spectacular preseason game hasn't yet secured a future in the NFL.

"He played tough, he played physical, he blocked in the run game," Flores said. "He wanted to make his presence felt obviously from a receiving standpoint, but really in all phases.

"But one good game doesn't make you a superstar. This league is all about consistency. I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves with Preston. He's got a long way to go."

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