CARDINALS CORNER

Resiliency a key word in Cardinals rookie CB Garrett Williams’ vocabulary

May 16, 2023, 3:48 PM

Garrett Williams introductory press conference...

Arizona Cardinals rookie CB Garrett Williams (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — It didn’t take long for Arizona Cardinals rookie Garrett Williams to realize he had a future as a cornerback.

Looking to make a name for himself as a starting quarterback at Hickory Ridge High School in North Carolina, Williams entered the summer before his junior year ready to let it ride.

That was until a pair of teammates and cornerbacks went down with injuries during 7-on-7s.

Five interceptions and a return touchdown later and the rest was history, with Williams taking what was supposed to be a one-time switch and turning it into a full-blown career at the position.

But just as injuries would crack open the door of possibility for the CB, with it eventually leading to a starting role at Syracuse, another would impact him in a whole other way.

Hoping to put an exclamation mark on his college career while bolstering his NFL Draft stock in the process, Williams saw his junior season kick off without a hitch behind 32 tackles, two interceptions, three passes defensed and a sack. He was well on his way to posting the best college season of his career.

Things then took a sudden turn, with Williams going down with a torn ACL in the seventh game of the year, effectively ending his season while putting him behind the eight-ball in terms of draft prep.

The goal posts of Williams’ playing career were undoubtedly moved, but that didn’t stop him from grinding and learning more about himself along the way.

“I realized how resilient I am. I feel like that’s something that’s been a common theme with me throughout my life,” Williams said Thursday. “Obviously, when something like that happens, for me, at the biggest moment in my life and still be sitting here … I think it did a lot for me realizing I can still get things accomplished that I want.

“I really pride myself on that and that’s why when this happened, at first it was upsetting and then I’m seeing it as, ‘I can really come back from this to make my story,'” he added. “I kind of see my life like a movie. I can make my movie that much cooler, that much better in the end.”

And accomplish things he has, specifically last month when he was taken in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Cardinals despite not being fully healthy.

As for when that might be, the rookie cornerback is targeting July for a potential return date. He and the team feel confident in the timeline that would see Williams take the field closer to training camp.

Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis is already envisioning the type of player Williams, who has the versatility to move around the formation, can be in the new-look unit.

“Another guy (with) high character. The one thing that I really love that stands out with him is at that position he possesses a mindset of you have to play with a high motor and violence still,” Rallis said following the draft. “That’s something we talked about on defense (that) is important. It doesn’t matter what the scheme is — or anything like that — if you don’t play with high motor and violence. He’s going to play that way.

“Then his skillset of being able to transition (from) a to b. I think his off-man is elite, he can tempo the routes, he can get out of his break and go challenge the ball. I’m really excited about (his skillset).”

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