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90 players in 90 days: wide receiver Duke Williams

The 2019 Wild Card game starter may not be with the team come September

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills vastly improved their receiving corps in 2020, which meant that some players who had played large roles in 2019 were either traded, released, or surpassed on the depth chart by new players. This isn’t anything new; in fact, it’s the literal purpose of a professional team, as management’s job is to ensure that the team is better each year. However, it did mean that some players who had worked their way into fans’ hearts would lose time.

For some players, that meant losing roster spots entirely. In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss one such player.

Name: Duke Williams

Number: 82

Position: WR

Height/Weight: 6’3” 225 lbs.

Age: 28 (29 on 5/13/2022)

Experience/Draft: 2; signed with the Los Angeles Rams following the 2016 NFL Draft

College: Auburn

Acquired: Signed with Bills on 1/7/2019

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Williams signed a reserve/futures contract with Buffalo, a one-year contract worth a total of $780,000. There is no guaranteed money on the contract.

2020 Recap: Just months removed from starting in a playoff game and leading the team in targets in that game, Williams was left off the final roster for the 2020 Bills. He did sign to the team’s practice squad just one days after his release. Williams was elevated to the practice squad for two games. In one of those contests, the Bills’ Wild Card victory over the Indianapolis Colts, he was inactive. In the other, Buffalo’s 18-10 win over the New York Jets in Week Seven, he played on four snaps, going without a target.

Positional outlook: Williams faces an uphill battle to make the team, as Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, Emmanuel Sanders, Isaiah McKenzie, Isaiah Hodgins, and Marquez Stevenson all figure to have a leg up on him. Tanner Gentry, Jake Kumerow, Brandon Powell, and Lance Lenoir round out the positional group.

2021 Offseason: Williams is healthy and he attended OTAs.

2021 Season outlook: Barring some injuries or other crazy happenings this summer, Williams is less likely to be in a fight for a roster spot and more likely to be in a fight to retain his spot on the practice squad. Jake Kumerow is the other big veteran wideout who will be looking to sneak on to the practice squad, and he is a solid special teams contributor, something Williams can’t put on his resume. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Williams looking elsewhere for work this season.