His Boise State debut was a doozy. Can former Bronco do it again at new position in NFL?

·4 min read
Danny Karnik/AP

The first time Avery Williams touched the football in a Boise State uniform, he returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown using a wicked stiff-arm to elude a Troy defender.

That playmaking ability has earned him a new role with the Atlanta Falcons in his second season in the NFL.

Williams, already a special teams ace, could make his debut at running back for the Falcons when they travel to Detroit for their preseason opener. Kickoff is 4 p.m. Mountain time Friday on the NFL Network.

“He’s one of the most intelligent players that I’ve been lucky enough to coach,” Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith told AtlantaFalcons.com.

Williams was asked earlier this summer to switch from cornerback to running back. It sounds like a daunting transition, but the Boise State alum wasn’t phased.

“I didn’t bat an eye. I didn’t hesitate,” Williams said. “I believe in my coach 100 percent.”

Since Falcons training camp began, Williams has been turning heads at his new position, in addition to his duties as a return man.

“(He’s) handling the transition and then coming out here and showing flashes that he can make plays,” Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Practice, you’ve got to show it, and then as we gradually step into the season, we’ll get more opportunities in games and in those competitive practices. He’s made some plays out here. Pretty dependable guy, so I’m excited about him.”

Williams is among 27 players with Idaho ties currently on an NFL training camp roster. Below is the Week 1 preseason schedule, including Idaho connections for each game. All times are Mountain.

Thursday’s games

New York Giants at New England Patriots, 5 p.m. (NFL Network)

DL, David Moa (Boise State), No. 96 New York Giants

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, 5:30 p.m.


Friday’s games

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions, 4 p.m. (NFL Network)

RB, Avery Williams (Boise State), No. 35 Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars, 5 p.m.

WR, Jeff Cotton Jr. (Idaho), No. 88 Jacksonville Jaguars

DT, Tommy Togiai (Highland High), No. 93 Cleveland Browns

DE, Curtis Weaver (Boise State), No. 59 Cleveland Browns

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals, 5:30 p.m.

ILB, Tanner Vallejo (Boise State), No. 51 Arizona Cardinals

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles, 5:30 p.m.

LB, Christian Elliss (Idaho), No. 53 Philadelphia Eagles

WR, John Hightower (Boise State), No. 82 Philadelphia Eagles

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers, 6:30 p.m. (NFL Network)


Saturday’s games

Carolina Panthers at Washington Commanders, 11 a.m.

TE, Jared Scott (Idaho State), No. 43 Carolina Panthers

TE, John Bates (Boise State), No. 87 Washington Commanders

OT, Charles Leno Jr. (Boise State), No. 72 Washington Commanders

LB, Tre Walker (Idaho), No. 41R Washington Commanders

Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears, 11 a.m. (NFL Network)


Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills, 2 p.m. (NFL Network)

WR, Khalil Shakir (Boise State), No. 10 Buffalo Bills

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers, 5 p.m. (NFL Network)

RB, Jeremy McNichols (Boise State), No. 33 Pittsburgh Steelers (reserve/injured)

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5:30 p.m.

TE, Tanner Conner (Idaho State), No. 48 Miami Dolphins

LB, Porter Gustin (Emmett High), No. 96 Miami Dolphins

G, John Molchon (Boise State), No. 75 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WR, Cedrick Wilson (Boise State), No. 11 Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans, 6 p.m.

LB, Kaden Elliss (Idaho), No. 55 New Orleans Saints

QB, Taysom Hill (Highland High), No. 7 New Orleans Saints

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)

DE, DeMarcus Lawrence (Boise State), No. 90 Dallas Cowboys

QB, Brett Rypien (Boise State), No. 4 Denver Broncos

LB, Leighton Vander Esch (Salmon River High, Boise State), No. 55 Dallas Cowboys

Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers, 8 p.m.

DT, Jonah Williams (Rocky Mountain High), No. 92 Los Angeles Rams (reserve/future)

Sunday’s game

Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders, 2:25 p.m. (NFL Network)

G, Ezra Cleveland (Boise State), No. 72 Minnesota Vikings

G, Jesse Davis (Idaho), No. 73 Minnesota Vikings

RB, Alexander Mattison (Boise State), No. 2 Minnesota Vikings