Grambling State wide receiver Chad Williams, who was a first-team All-SWAC selection as a senior, was taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the NFL Draft, Friday night.
Arizona, in need of a wide receiver to replace the aging, but stellar Larry Fitzgerald, traded down in the third round to take Williams with the No. 98 overall pick.
After being suspended for the 2016 season opener following an arrest on marijuana possession and firearm charges, Williams rebounded to catch 90 passes for 1,337 yards and 11 touchdowns for a Grambling team that went onto win the Black College National Championship. He was also named a second-team FCS All-American.
He is the first Grambling player to be picked in the draft since Jason Hatcher in 2006, and the first wide receiver taken since Scotty Anderson in 2001.
Pro Football Focus described Williams as a “crisp route runner” who will be in the position to learn from Fitzgerald as he plays his remaining seasons in the NFL.
“I know for a fact I can live up to that third-round hype these guys have going,” Williams said.
Williams flew up draft boards after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, where he was able to beat some of the nation’s top cornerback prospects in during drills.
“It probably wouldn’t be an Arizona Cardinal draft if we didn’t take a small school guy, particularly in the third round,” said Arizona general manager Steve Keim. “He’s got the potential you look for.”