Receiver Battle: Don't Count Out LaQuan Williams

LaQuan Williams scored two touchdowns Thursday night, proving once again why he's worthy of a 53-man roster spot. - Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

With a lot of focus on Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams was the one of the group that had the biggest all-around night in Tampa Bay.

LaQuan Williams hasn't been the flashiest player the past two seasons.

He's not a speedster on the outside. He's not the matchup nightmare in the slot. But that's not going to hold back the third-year receiver out of Maryland. Williams worked his way onto the team as the fifth receiver in 2011 and firmly earned a spot late in the preseason a year ago.

But Deonte Thompson worked his way ahead of Williams on the preseason depth chart, with Williams suddenly in a battle for one of the final spots with rookies Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown.

Both Mellette and Brown finished with some big plays during Baltimore's 44-16 win over Tampa Bay Thursday night, but it was Williams who had the best outing of them all.

Coming free as a gunner on the punt coverage team, Williams recovered a muffed punt from Buccaneers receiver Chris Owusu early in the second quarter. The play set up Bernard Pierce's 20-yard touchdown run.

Near the end of the first half, Ravens defensive back Brynden Trawick got a good burst to block Chaz Henry's punt. Once again, Williams was on the spot, to recover the loose ball for a touchdown.

Williams' best moment came in the third quarter, when he hauled in his 21-yard touchdown receptionr. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor lofted a pass in the back of the end zone, one perfectly placed for Williams to rise up and come down with. Williams held the ball throughout the fall, earning his first preseason touchdown of 2013.

With the way Williams played, and with the way the receivers above him fared, Williams is certainly worthy of some first-team practice reps in Baltimore's next four practices before they host Atlanta in preseason game No. 2. If Williams can produce in practice with the first-team offense, then maybe he should get a chance at some game action with Flacco against the Falcons.

That remains to be seen, though. Coach John Harbaugh isn't typically one to make knee-jerk reactions based off of one game.

But Williams deserves the shot. Here's a guy that was working that fought through injuries during his college career at Maryland. Here's someone that was working at a Sherwin-Williams store and contemplating joining the military during the lockout-stricken 2011 offseason. He's brought his best each preseason and has continued to show why he belongs on the 53-man roster. He did that once again Thursday night, and has three more preseason games to further prove why he belongs on the team once again.

"Every day I come out here and try to play my best," Williams told reporters after the game, via BaltimoreRavens.com. "That's what it comes down to. I just want to keep, like I said, stacking days and hopefully I can solidify a spot on the team."

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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