The Bills did not draft a running back with any of their six picks to compete with Williams or other veterans for the backup pecking order behind LeSean McCoy. The No. 2 role looks like Williams' to lose. He served as the No. 3 back as a rookie, and the Bills failed to match the Patriots' offer for Mike Gillislee. Williams slipped in the 2016 draft due to some injury issues, but he was a strong runner for Arkansas and made a decent impression in his young pro career following an offseason incident involving alcohol during his post-draft summer. He might end up being one injury away from a major role in a run-heavy offense, as neither Joe Banyard nor Cedric O'Neal offers anywhere near Williams' athletic ability.
The Patriots signed Williams' former teammate Mike Gillislee to a contract last week, and the Bills failed to match the offer to the restricted free agent by Monday's deadline. That leaves Williams as the No. 2 back behind LeSean McCoy. It'll be interesting to see what the Bills do in a running back-heavy draft, where it appears they'll use one of their picks to provide some depth to the group. That said, the team has bigger needs at corner, safety, and wide receiver, so unless the Bills do something crazy with the No. 10 overall pick, Williams stands a good chance to at least be able to earn a shot at the key backup RB spot.
Williams would be the favorite to step in as LeSean McCoy's top backup should the Bills choose not to match the offer sheet Mike Gillislee signed with the Patriots on Tuesday, Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com reports. Williams' rise up the depth chart is far from assured, as the Bills have until Tuesday to decide on Gillislee's offer sheet, and even if the team doesn't match, the upcoming draft will provide plenty of options to bolster its backfield. A fifth-round selection last year, Williams took only 27 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown in 11 games while serving as the No. 3 running back for most of his rookie season. There isn't much competition on the current roster besides Gillislee, and the Bills do have more pressing needs -- namely cornerback and wide receiver -- to address in the early rounds of the upcoming draft.
Williams, the team's fifth-round pick out of Arkansas, finished his rookie season with 27 rushes for 94 yards and a score. He barely factored in the passing game, with just one catch for zero yards. Williams is further along than when he picked up a DWI arrest shortly after being drafted and ran the risk of getting cut, but he worked his way back from that and a rib injury and ended up passing Reggie Bush to move into the third spot on the depth chart. Even though the Bills will have a new coaching staff coming in, there's not much likelihood of a shake-up to the running backs corps, as LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee is about as good as it gets as a 1-2 punch. We'll see if the new staff takes a liking to Williams, enough to give him meaningful carries as a No. 3 back, though assuming the top two guys are back and healthy, he'll need to wait for an injury to have a role that registers on the fantasy radar.
Williams carried the ball three times for 10 yards during Sunday's win over the Browns. The rookie saw action once the Bills had a commanding lead, as the team continues to sprinkle him in. Still, he's well behind LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee on the depth chart and frankly, in terms of current rushing ability, though as a young player that had some success at Arkansas, there's hope he might have a bigger role in the future.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/10||New York Jets||15||17.00|
|7||10/22||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||18.75|
|9||11/03||@New York Jets||15||17.00|
|10||11/12||New Orleans Saints||31||21.63|
|11||11/19||@Los Angeles Chargers||27||19.88|
|12||11/26||@Kansas City Chiefs||17||17.59|
|13||12/03||New England Patriots||9||15.26|
|16||12/24||@New England Patriots||9||15.26|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||27||94||1||1||0||0||15|