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Giants roster preview: DE/LB Ishaq Williams takes unusual path to NFL

Can Williams complete unlikely comeback?

Ishaq Williams during a 2013 game with Notre Dame
Ishaq Williams during a 2013 game with Notre Dame
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Ishaq Williams of the New York Giants is not your typical NFL rookie. Thanks to the fallout from an academic cheating scandal while at Notre Dame, Williams has not played football since 2013. Still, the Giants saw enough from the Brooklyn native to sign him to a contract after rookie minicamp.

Can Williams, so far removed from actually having played football, actually shake off the rust and make the Giants' 53-man roster? The Giants, obviously, are curious. They are. however, far from certain.

"It (football) is not something that you can go out to the playground and play. You need it to be on a team and be around a team. It is tough to simulate the game," coach Ben McAdoo said during the spring. "That is why having the big lapse between the end of the season and the off-season program is such a challenge."

Let's take a closer look at Williams as we continue profiling the players who will make up the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in just a few days. We will dispense with the usual "2015 Season in Review/2016 Season Outlook" format, since there was no 2015 season for Williams.

If you want to know more about how Williams, so far removed from football, got an opportunity with the Giants, Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News posted an excellent look at his journey during rookie minicamp. For our purposes, let's focus on the opportunity at hand.

A 6-foot-4, 253-pound 23-year-old, Williams is listed on the teams' official web site as a defensive end. Throughout the spring, however, Williams appeared to work mostly as a linebacker, specifically as a WILL, with the Giants apparently looking to see if his athleticism will make him a fit on the edge.

Dave-Te Thomas of NFL Draft Report posted a lengthy piece of Williams after the Giants signed him. Here are details from that.

2016 Notre Dame Pro Day results -- 4.83 in the 40-yard dash...1.79 10-yard dash...2.90 20-yard dash...4.45 20-yard shuttle...7.51 three-cone drill...31-inch vertical jump...10'-00" broad jump...Bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times...33 1/8-inch arm length...9 ½-inch hands...81 ¼-inch wingspan.

Those were good enough to earn him the tryout with the Giants.

Thomas also included a complete scouting report on Williams from his 2013 season with the Fighting Irish. Of Williams' chance to stick with the Giants, Thomas says "Williams faces long odds in his quest for a roster spot. Obviously, with just one quarterback sack in 35 college games, one would assume that the Big Blue did not bring the Brooklyn native on board for his pass rushing skills."

If the Giants are indeed hoping to teach Williams the WILL position, perhaps his best hope will be to latch on to a practice squad spot. The Giants already have more veteran linebackers than they can use, and the practice squad might give Williams an opportunity to fully re-introduce himself to the daily football routine.