Posted by Michael Stewart | Contributor
With Rashad Jennings sidelined with a sprain MCL going into week 6, the Giants are going to lean on a rookie RB by the name of Andre Williams to help carry the load. Who is Andre Williams? Well unless you’ve been in exile for the past year, Williams was the leading rushing (2,177 yards) with 18 TD’s and a solid 6.18 yards per carry with Boston College last season.
Despite his success in college, Williams was overlooked by every team through the 1st 3 rounds of the draft and then in the early 4th round was selected by the Giants. There were 10 RB’s selected ahead of Williams, most notably Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason and Bishop Sankey. Although the verdict is still out on all these RB’s, landing the leading rusher in college football in the 4th round can be considered a steal.
During his rookie pre-season, Williams displayed the power and surprising speed that made him the leading rusher in college football. With Rashad Jennings cemented as the starter, the Giants could slowly groom Williams into a solid 2nd tier option as a rookie. In the past two games, Williams has seen his playing time increase and has responded with 60+ yards in each game with 2 TD’s. Expect those numbers to improve over the next several weeks as Williams should be seeing more action and plenty of touches.
What I like about Williams running style is that he runs with authority and although he will never be a take it to the house type RB, Williams will hardly be taken down with arm tackles. He has great vision and hits the hole quickly, to go along with his excellent balance; which makes him hard to bring down on 1st contact. Also, let’s not overlook his ability to pass protect; which is essential in the NFL and also his leadership qualities.
The biggest rap against Williams during his college career has been his inability of catch the ball. I firmly believe that most of this was in part of the offensive scheme Boston College implemented. Williams didn’t need to be featured as a receiving RB due to his success running the ball. I believe he will improve as his NFL career progresses.
This week, Williams will have the opportunity to show not only the teams that passed him by in the draft, but also the Giant fans that he is very capable of handling the load. He will be tested against the Eagles and then the Cowboys over the next 2 games. With a bye in week 8, perhaps Jennings will be ready to assume his starting duties for week 9. If not, Williams will be the featured back against the Colts. These next few games are pivotal for the Giants in their quest for a playoff spot. Williams needs to contribute in order for the Giants to succeed. I believe he will and help this team to a 2-1 record in that stretch.
Of course, I could be wrong, and trust me as I’ve been wrong lots of times, but I definitely think that Williams has the opportunity to succeed and I believe he will take full advantage of it starting this week against the Eagles.