Training camp starts Wednesday (July 28th) and there are a lot of positions with good competition. One of those positions is Running Back. Two players that are guaranteed to make the roster at this spot are Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. The rest of the Running Back group include Antonio Williams, Matt Breida, Taiwan Jones, and Christian Wade. In 2020, the Bills kept four RBs on the roster. This means these four players are likely fighting for the last two spots. In my opinion, one of those spots belongs to Antonio Williams.
Williams College Experience
Williams is 5’11”, 215 pounds and played his college ball at Ohio State and University of North Carolina. He played his first two seasons in Columbus and didn’t have a huge role there. Once he transferred to UNC, he really came to life. He had a great junior year, splitting touches with another RB. He had 91 carries for 504 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. During his senior year, his carries went down but he was still very efficient when he got the ball, posting an average of 6.7 yards per carry. Another positive experience from his college career is that he had experience playing on special teams.
Virtual Pro Day Results
After his senior year, Williams hosted a virtual pro day and performed pretty well. He showed that he had a good balance between speed and power. He posted a 4.52 40-time while putting up 24 reps on the bench. Also, he showed some explosiveness posting over 10 feet in the broad jump. Compared to RB averages, he performed well. His 40-time is right at the average and his bench press is above average. This may have been part of the reason the Bills signed him after the 2020 draft as an undrafted free agent.
While he only played in one game last year, week 17 against Miami, he showed some really good things. In one half of action, he rushed for 63 yards on 12 carries (5.3 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. These are good numbers. He was able to get the job done when given the opportunity and capitalized on his red zone touches. For me, the main takeaway from this game was that he had a chip on his shoulder and that he runs extremely hard. He never stopped moving his feet and always fought for extra yards. We have good shifty backs in Singletary and Moss, but lack a real power back that will put his head down and get the tough yards. That’s where I think Williams comes in.
Why He Should Make the Roster
Antonio Williams could be a red zone and short yardage back. Give him the ball on second or third and short and let him put his head down, follow the blocks, and get the tough yards. Also, he is an extremely unselfish player. In an interview earlier this offseason, he said that he doesn’t care if he’s on special teams or in the backfield. He just wants to be his best. The final reason I believe he is going to get a roster spot is that he is working to improve his receiving skills, the part of his game he struggles with; a crucial component of Daboll’s offense.
Between putting in the work this offseason, what he showed in that one game last season, and his ability to play on special teams, I believe that he is extremely valuable to have on the roster.