The Chargers showed faith in their former undrafted free agent corner by retaining him this offseason, but Trevor Williams remains out with an injury.
The Chargers were fortunate to have Trevor Williams develop so quickly in 2017, as an injury to Jason Verrett forced him to play opposite Casey Hayward for most of the season. Ranking within the top 10 at corner, Williams was on his way to becoming one of the league’s better second corner options, if not an elite option against any receiver.
However, in 2018, injuries and a drop in play forced the young corner to eventually land on injured reserve in December. With a full offseason to recover, it looked like the Chargers were going to give him another shot at his old starting role. Signed to his restricted free agent tender, Williams had the full faith and confidence of his coaches.
The team fully expected him back and better than ever; nowhere is this more apparent than in their 2019 draft class, where the Chargers did not take a single corner and only one defensive back. Through OTA’s he looked outstanding; here’s what head coach Anthony Lynn said about him back in June:
“I have to tell you, Trevor looks outstanding. His confidence is back. He’s playing like it in practice. His change-of-direction is night and day.” -Anthony Lynn
But here the team is, on August 22nd, and this is the update:
Trevor Williams and Uchenna Nwosu did not practice. #Chargers
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) August 22, 2019
Williams hasn’t seen a practice since who knows when, and hasn’t even come close to seeing preseason action.
The main concern, outside of his health, is the potential for this defense to go sour in a hurry. If Williams cannot play, the Chargers are a Michael Davis or Casey Hayward injury away from being a disaster at corner. Though Desmond King or Nasir Adderley (who is finally practicing) could fill in at outside corner, it takes away from what they do best. With Derwin James hurt, those two are expected to help shoulder the load of his absence, and not focusing on trying to play on the perimeter.
It’s part of the reason why I suggested corner may become worrisome for the Chargers to begin with. Though fans expected Williams to return to form, it wasn’t guaranteed, and now it looks like the team won’t have him available to open the regular season; at least, not at the rate he’s going. If Davis goes down, are any fans comfortable watching Brandon Facyson cover receivers like Will Fuller or Adam Thielen, both legitimate second options at receiver for different reasons? Both, among others, are on the schedule for the Chargers this season. Williams needs to recover in a hurry, because his defense is starting to run thin on options in the secondary.