The common belief surrounding Green Bay Packers running backs is second-year player Aaron Jones is the front-runner for the most carries in the Packers new committee approach. His performance in Dallas week five was perhaps the most memorable when he rushed for 125 yards on 19 attempts in a 35-31 win. He also emerged as Green Bay’s biggest home run threat with a 46-yard touchdown run vs the New Orleans Saints a couple weeks later. Not to be forgotten, fellow draft class member Jamaal Williams had his fair share of moments as a rookie including a 113-yard performance in a must-win game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late in the season. While Jones mostly relied on speed and decisive cuts to be effective, Williams used pure will and power to wear defenses down. Among all Packer running backs, including Ty Montgomery, Williams is the only one who appeared in every game last season. Durability is one of if not the most important trait to have as an NFL running back. Something Williams has already proven to possess. He may not be as flashy as Jones or Montgomery, but he could easily emerge as RB1 by the end of 2018.
.@jswaggdaddy is my favorite RB on the #Packers roster because of how he finishes runs. Here the offense looks to execute a stretch but Jamaal Williams doesn't get sucked into the easy mistake of bouncing it outside. This could easily have been a no gain or loss of yards. pic.twitter.com/i72Afq4DBY
— Brandon Carwile (@PackerScribe) July 11, 2018
Williams was the first running back taken by the Packers in 2017 because of his complete skill set. Not only is he a hard runner, but his receiving ability and pass blocking made him an ideal fit in the offense. He quickly made an impression during his first training camp for his work on special teams and in pass protection drills. This led him to be the first guy up after Montgomery got hurt early in the year.
Williams quickly proved he could be relied upon as a rookie. His 140 fumble rate in college carried over to the pros as he logged 153 attempts without a fumble.
His first chance to gain significant carries would not come until week 10 in Chicago. Montgomery was dealing with broken ribs and Jones exited in the first quarter with a knee sprain. Williams finished with 67 yards on 20 attempts but his hard running late in the game caught everybody’s attention. For the rest of the season, he did not go a game without at least 10 carries.
McCarthy has stated he will roll with the hot hand in any given week, but there’s a good chance Williams will be his most reliable ball carrier. He led the Packers in the rushing yards with 556 and also garnered the most receptions and receiving yards at his position. Williams is also the Packers best pass protector in the backfield- a heavily valued attribute in an offense led by Aaron Rodgers. His ability to be transparent and be on the field in any situation will help him become the regular starter in only his second year.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.