In the fifth round of the draft this year, the Buffalo Bills selected Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams. Williams was pegged by some as a Day 2 talent who slipped largely due to missing last season with a broken foot. If he comes back from that injury, he could earn a hefty workload in Greg Roman's offense and perhaps even unseat Karlos Williams as the second runner on the depth chart.
BuffaloBills.com reporter Chris Brown in both a recap of the John Murphy Show and his weekly Fan Friday Q&A session, declared the newer Williams as a possible usurper to the older Williams' throne behind LeSean McCoy.
"As I mentioned in a blog post earlier this week, I think Jonathan Williams can give Karlos Williams a run for his money as the backup behind LeSean McCoy," says Brown in his Fan Friday column. "Watching his game tape from Arkansas the thing that impresses me most is his contact balance. Just the way he bounces off that initial tackler almost every time and keeps his legs churning for extra yards. I think his thick build fools opponents into thinking he’s just a downhill runner. He can do that, but he’s also got some elusiveness and speed to pull away from people. "
He does have some deficiencies not related to his broken foot, too, as Brown went on to note:
"Now he’s probably not outrunning some of the faster safeties in the league should he reach the secondary on a play, but he knows angles and has a more diversified skill set than people realize."
The possibility of Jonathan Williams earning the RB2 spot as a rookie speaks more to his potential than it does a drop-off in Karlos Williams' production. Karlos tied a league record with touchdowns in the first six games of his career, and NFL.com recently pegged him as the third-best backup running back in the league. That said, he did miss several games last season dealing with the after-effects of a concussion.
There's also the possibility of McCoy missing time, which he did on two separate occasions last season due to injury. While his legal issues seem to be on the back-burner for the moment, the chances of him playing all 16 games next season aren't high, all things considered.
Regardless of the other running backs on the depth chart, however, Jonathan Williams figures to receive plenty of playing time in Roman's run-oriented offense this offseason and preseason. The order of the depth chart notwithstanding, he will have plenty of opportunities to make an impact. Whether or not that will lead to him rising to the second spot on the depth chart remains to be seen.