Andre Williams was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. That year, he was the Giants’ leading rusher picking up 721 yards and seven touchdowns carrying the football. That was three more touchdowns and nearly 100 more yards than the Giants’ next most productive rusher, Rashad Jennings, who started two more games that season.
The following year, Williams played in 16 games again, but he started none of them after starting seven as a rookie. He also carried the ball 129 fewer times and averaged fewer than 3.0 yards per carry. By last August, he had fallen so far down the depth chart that the Giants let him go. The Chargers picked him up, and he spent most of the year on the practice squad before finally sneaking into a game late in the season after injuries cleared the way for him to get an opportunity.
In that one game Williams saw with the Chargers, he rushed 87 yards on only 18 carries which was about 1.5 yards per carry more than he had averaged in his career. If you believe Anthony Lynn, that’s the kind of player the Chargers might have in Williams this season. He was quoted in Newsday saying the following:
Coming out of school I studied Andre. He’s a big back, he ran with good power. He’s a very disciplined athlete, he’s lost weight, he’s quicker now. And he still runs with power. Just teach him some things out of the backfield and the receiving game and things like that that can help him get more touches and he’s going to be fine.
Now, every coach is prone to saying overly positive things about the players on his roster this time of year (and frankly any time of year), but if you were inclined to have any hope that the still only 24-years-old Williams would be a contributor in 2017, that type of quote does not hurt.
What do you think? Will Andre Williams recapture the success he saw as a rookie?