With Pro Bowler Casey Hayward on the opposite side, Trevor Williams knew what was coming on Sunday. It didn't take a genius to know what the Miami Dolphins were thinking.
"Jason Verrett isn't playing? Time to test his replacement."
Yet the Dolphins found out exactly what several teams learned a year ago – it's wise not trying to pick on Williams.
As an undrafted free agent out of Penn State, the 5-11, 191-pound cornerback appeared in 12 games with five starts in 2016. He impressed with a calm, confident demeanor right from the start, showing no fear going up against the likes of Julio Jones in his first extensive action.
After playing predominately in subpackages Week 1 at Denver, Williams was on the field for every single snap against the Dolphins, earning high praise from Head Coach Anthony Lynn. He finished with five tackles and a game-high two passes defensed.
So, does Williams take it personal when teams try to throw in his direction?
"My mindset is they can try me if they want, but if you do, I'll make you pay for it," he said matter-of-factly. "I don't take any offense to it. I'm prepared for it. I work my butt off day in and day out for that moment. So I know it's coming, but I'm prepared. It's about being focused on your preparation. Come to work with a worker's mentality. Control the controllable. Then once your name is called, you're in position to make plays. Don't overthink anything. I trust myself and my abilities. I'll do the same thing each week."
The former Penn State star knows he isn't on the same level as a Verrett or Hayward. He doesn't have Pro Bowls or All-Pro honors under his belt. Nonetheless, he takes the field with the same confidence and swagger as his more famous teammates.
He also hopes to one day be considered in the same breath. However, that's not his number one priority.
"I do want that really bad," he admitted. "But mostly, I want the Chargers to win. I want our team to be known as the best of the best. This is a tough conference, so winning is what matters (most). So whatever I can do, when my time comes, I'll be prepared."
Williams' skillset translates well to Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley's system. With impressive length, the ability to run stride for stride with receivers and be physical when needed, the 24-year old is a cornerback on the rise.
Just ask Casey Hayward, who has witnessed his growth firsthand from the moment Williams entered the locker room.
"He's grown a lot from year one to year two. The two of us worked a lot this offseason in the same place. I've seen all the work he's put in. He put in a lot of hard work to be in the position he's in right now."
He also believes teams will quickly learn Williams' name.
"That's how it starts," he explained. "You have to start somewhere when you are undrafted like that. So when you come in, play consistent for a year or two, that's when people start to give you your props. They'll start saying, 'That number 24, he's making plays.'"