- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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During the summer, Nick Williams left an impression. He ran good routes from the slot, the one punt he returned went for 29 yards and he impressed in practices with his under-the-radar game.
He'll now finally get a chance to see what he can do on an NFL roster. According to a league source, the Redskins are expected to sign Williams off their practice squad Tuesday and place him on the 53-man roster. With rookie Chris Thompson headed for injured reserve because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the Redskins needed to fill a roster spot.
Williams was a punt and kickoff returner at the University of Connecticut and likely will have a shot to help in those areas -- both of which have been problem spots for Washington. Williams fielded extra punts after practice Monday, something he said he often does. He's listed at 5-foot-10, but looks a couple inches shorter. In the preseason, Williams caught seven passes for 51 yards, but it's hard to imagine him helping from scrimmage with Santana Moss ahead of him.
Williams is a shifty returner who posted big numbers on kickoffs in college, averaging 25.9 for his career. As a senior, he averaged 20.4 yards per kick and 12.0 yards per return. The Redskins viewed him as a high priority when it came time to signing undrafted free agent.
At his pro day last spring, Williams impressed scouts in part because of a 4.56 time in the 40-yard dash and a 37-inch vertical leap. Then-Connecticut football coach Paul Pasqualoni, who has since been fired, told the Connecticut Post: "What Nick brings is, he's got a way on punt returns and kick returns, he's got a way of really making plays. But I really think that he can play that inside slot receiver spot, he just hasn't had enough experience there yet. We just put him in there last year, but you can't do it all in a year. I think he's going to open some eyes and surprise people with his ability to return punts and kickoffs, and he will develop into being a good inside slot receiver."
Here's a video of some of his returns in college.