Teddy Williams will be entering his third season with the Carolina Panthers, hoping to regain his roster spot after his 2016 season was ended early by an injury.
After playing in 16 games for the Panthers in 2015, Williams was left off the active roster in three of Carolina’s first four games in 2016. However, the poor performance of the cornerbacks ahead of him gave Williams a chance to get back into the picture in Week 5, and he had the best game of his career the very next week, recording his first career interception and six tackles.
Williams hasn’t seen the field since that day, leaving practice the following week with a knee injury and eventually being placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
- Team: Carolina Panthers
- Position: Cornerback
- Experience: 5 years
Prior to last season, Williams was used almost exclusively on special teams, where the former All-American sprinter was able to leverage his speed into regular playing time as a gunner on punts and kickoffs.
All reports indicate that Williams is now fully recovered from the injury that ended his season last year, but we’ll have to wait and see if he still has the speed and explosiveness that helped him break into the NFL in the first place.
CAROLINA PANTHERS CORNERBACK DEPTH
- James Bradberry, 1 year experience
- Daryl Worley, 1 year experience
- Captain Munnerlyn, 8 years experience (injured)
- Corn Elder, Rookie (Drafted, 5th round) (injured)
- Cole Luke, Rookie (Undrafted)
- Teddy Williams, 5 years experience
- Jeff Richards, Rookie (AFL & CFL experience)
- Zach Sanchez, 1 year experience
- Devonte Johnson, 1 year practice squad experience
Bradberry, Worley and Munnerlyn have the starting outside corner and nickel spots all but locked up, but the competition behind them is wide open.
Carolina will likely only retain two or three backup cornerbacks out of the six that are currently on the 90-man roster.
Williams made some impressive plays during OTAs and briefly filled in for an injured Bradberry on the first team. However, he seems to have cooled down in recent weeks, leaving room for some of the younger guys to surpass him on the depth chart.
Corn Elder has managed to turn some heads in training camp and may have been the top choice as the backup outside corner, but a patella stress fracture will keep him out for at least a month.
Munnerlyn has also been sidelined recently, giving undrafted free agent Cole Luke a chance to cement himself as second-choice nickel.
As long as Williams doesn’t have any lingering issues from his injury, his utility on special teams should help give him the edge if none of the newcomers can impress enough in preseason to take the spot away from him.
Odds to make 53-man roster: 75%
The Panthers kick off week 1 of the NFL’s preseason slate tonight against Houston, airing live on NFL Network, followed by another chance to see Williams in action on national TV next week against Tennessee.
ATLANTA FALCONS PRESEASON SCHEDULE
(all times Central)
Wednesday, Aug. 9
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m. (NFL Network)
Saturday, Aug. 19
Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans, 2 p.m. (NFL Network)
Thursday, Aug. 24
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 24, 10:00 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 31
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Sep. 1, 3:00 p.m.