As an undrafted player at a deep position, Preston Williams is competing to make the Dolphins as a fifth or sixth receiver.
But after watching another impressive performance by the 6-5 rookie on Saturday, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard predicted that Williams eventually will be much more than that.
“He can be a No. 1 receiver one day,” Howard said. “That guy can be special.”
Asked why he felt that way, Howard noted he has “played wide receivers all my life,” and he can identify special talent.
Williams was among the stars of Saturday’s practice, which featured more than an hour of 11-on-11 work and was a pseudo scrimmage. He caught at least six passes for well over 100 yards, most from Josh Rosen, including a bomb covering 42 yards.
Williams — who ranked among the nation’s leaders in receptions and yards at Colorado State last season — was flattered by Howard’s comment.
“I learn a lot from him,” Williams said. “That means a lot him saying that.”
Williams said he worked every weekend with NFL Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall for more than a month this offseason and the instruction was valuable.
“He told me the ins and outs of the league, how to use my body frame against defensive backs,” Williams said. “He was real positive with me. I’ve been watching him since I was a little kid. I’m glad Fitz [Ryan Fitzpatrick] hooked me up with him.”
If the Dolphins keep six receivers, Williams likely is competing with Allen Hurns and Brice Butler for the remain two spots behind Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant. And it’s difficult to envision Williams not making the team if his work in preseason games mirrors what he did Saturday.
“He’s got a ton of potential,” Rosen said. “An unbelievable athlete and works really hard. Really high ceiling.”
This offseason wasn’t the first time Rosen and Williams worked together. They were on the same team in an Oregon camp for high school players several years ago.
JONES IN CAST
Safety Reshad Jones was spotted wearing a walking boot and cast on his right foot, explaining his absence from practice the past two days.
Jones has been working primarily with the second team in camp, with Bobby McCain and T.J. McDonald handling the majority of first-team safety work.
▪ Also sitting out the pseudo-scrimmage: Wilson, linebacker Chase Allen, tight end Dwayne Allen (who was noncommittal about whether he would be ready for the regular-season opener), linebacker Raekwon McMillan, linebacker Mike Hull, cornerback Cordrea Tankersley and defensive end Jonathan Woodard.
Kalen Ballage, who has been nursing a minor injury, played with the starters during their third series, after Kenyan Drake played the first two series with the starters. Drake’s day included a long run and a touchdown catch from Fitzpatrick.
Kiko Alonso, who also has been nursing a minor injury, played briefly in 11-on 11-drills.
▪ The scrimmage was marred by nearly 20 penalties, many foiling drives led by Rosen. Coach Brian Flores has spoken of having a disciplined team that commits few penalties, but Saturday was a step back in that regard.
▪ The starting defense Saturday included Tank Carradine and Charles Harris at defensive end, Christian Wilkins and Davon Godchaux at defensive tackle, Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen at linebacker, Minkah Fitzpatrick at slot corner, Xavien Howard and Eric Rowe at boundary cornerback and McCain and McDonald at safety. ... Rookie cornerback Montre Hartage got some snaps at safety with the second team. Tyler Patmon was the second-team slot corner.
▪ Rookies Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun opened as the first-team guards, and Calhoun struggled against Wilkins, particularly in pass protection. Mike Gesicki and Nick O’Leary opened at tight end and had multiple catches, as did Clive Walford.
▪ Scrimmage highlights, beyond Rosen’s outstanding play: Howard had two interceptions, both on balls thrown by Fitzpatrick. He could have had a third pick, but it slipped through his hands and was caught for a touchdown by Isaiah Ford, on a throw from Rosen. ...
Mark Walton was the No. 3 back, ahead of seventh-round Myles Gaskin, and looked good. ... McDonald knocked down a pass from Fitzpatrick and continues to put together a very good camp. ... Among those with would-be sacks: Baker (on a blitz), Wilkins (another strong day), Harris (two sacks, was active), Dwayne Hendrix (impressive all camp) and Adolphus Washington. … Jomal Wiltz had a nice pass breakup. ...
Rookies Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Ledbetter had run stops for no gain. … Chris Reed snapped a ball well over Rosen’s head.