On Wednesday, Texans coach Gary Kubiak mentioned four young players who have stood out to him so far during organized team activities (OTAs).
One of those players was Torri Williams, an undrafted free agent out of Purdue in 2010. Williams (6-2, 210) is playing cornerback after being listed at safety in his first two seasons with the Texans.
“For a guy who’s only played corner for a little bit of time, he’s showed great movement stuff, great awareness,” Texans defensive backs coach Vance Joseph said on Thursday. “He’s got some size, so I’m excited about Torri getting more reps in OTAs and coming into camp ready to compete.
“I think his best chance of making the team is at corner, in my opinion. And a big guy with movement skills like that, why waste him playing safety? I think his natural position is corner, so it’s the best thing for Torri, and for us, obviously.”
Williams’ football career has been full of twists and turns. He missed his sophomore season at Purdue in 2005 after breaking his right leg in spring practice. He started Purdue’s 2006 season opener but dislocated his right knee in the third quarter, ending yet another season. He battled some legal issues in 2007 and spent six seasons at Purdue because of his medical hardships.
The Texans signed Williams as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He wound up on the practice squad and was called up to the active roster in November, then suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in his first game.
In 2011, the Texans tried Williams at corner in their preseason finale. They released him a few days later but signed him back to the practice squad in October.
“Really, I’m just blessed, man, to even still be here, to even go through the things I’ve been through in college and my first couple years here,” Williams said Thursday. “I’m blessed to still have an opportunity to continue playing and do something that I love and enjoy, so I’m happy.”
When the Texans signed Williams to the practice squad last year, they told him they wanted to give him a shot at corner. So that’s where they put him, giving him a year to develop at the position.
“I’m getting adjusted to it, just watching the other veterans, watching how they work, watching how they cover, watching more film and seeing route recognition,” Williams said. “It’s exciting.”
Williams played safety and corner at Purdue, which he said has helped his transition at the NFL level. But the Cedar Park, Texas, native is still learning.
“For him, it’s footwork and alignment, just those things that he hasn’t done in a long time,” Joseph said. “He’s got natural route recognition. He’s a smart player. It’s just footwork and alignments, and that’s what he’s lacking right now, which comes with experience.”
Williams has unconventional size for a corner at 6-2, but he doesn’t see it as a hindrance.
“With the game now, you’re getting a lot of bigger receivers, so I guess on some of those deep balls they expect me to be in position to be able to play those better,” he said. “Being a big corner is definitely a plus for me.”
“He’s got great movement skills,” Joseph said. “For a big guy, he can really move and he can really bend. He’s awful quick and he’s got some long speed. He’s surprisingly one of our better movement guys doing drills, so with more time and experience, he should be fine at corner. I’m excited to see him grow and come into camp competing.”
The Texans did not sign a veteran corner this offseason despite the departure of veteran Jason Allen in free agency. Joseph acknowledged that there could be an opportunity for Williams to push for a roster spot.
“Sure,” he said. “We didn’t draft any corners, and we signed one (undrafted) free agent guy (Toledo’s Desmond Marrow), so there’s always room for good players. If he’s a good player coming out of camp, he’s gonna be here.”
Tags: Desmond Marrow, Organized Team Activities, Torri Williams, Vance Joseph
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 2 Comments »