Packers 2017 Recap: RB Jamaal Williams
The first of three running backs drafted by the Packers last spring, Williams is easily the most physically imposing.
At 6-0 and 213 pounds, Williams projects an image as a bruising inside runner and mostly lived up to that reputation in 2017.
His mix of size and speed proved to be enough to get him a steady diet of carries, and while Williams may not have broken as many big plays as fellow rookie running back Aaron Jones, he very rarely proved to be a negative element of the Packers’ offense.
- Appeared in 16 games with seven starts (441 snaps on offense, 61 on special teams)
- Rushed for 556 yards and four touchdowns on 153 carries (3.6 yards per carry)
- Caught 25 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns
Expectations going into the season: Moderate
Expectations were: Exceeded
Analysis: Williams pounds his way to a successful 2017
Aaron Jones grabbed a lot of the headlines for the Packers’ rookie runners in 2017, and rightly so. His dynamic style produced great results for the Packers and he flat out won a game by himself with his explosive touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But as explosive as Jones was, his counterpart Jamaal Williams was equally steady and dependable. Though he didn’t have as many big plays, Williams steadily ground out yards one bruising run at a time.
Williams was the early favorite for rookie running back reps coming out of training camp, but opportunities were in short supply for most of the first half of the season. In the Packers’ first eight games, Williams carried just 11 times.
But with Jones and Ty Montgomery banged up, Williams took over down the stretch, carrying 131 times in the second half of the season.
Williams averaged just 3.68 yards per carry during that stretch, but also faced loaded defensive fronts on many of those carries due to an anemic passing attack. Still, despite the heavy fronts, Williams almost never ran for a loss. He was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on just six of his 153 total carries, or 3.9%.
By way of comparison, league rushing leader Kareem Hunt was dropped for a loss on 24 of his 272 carries, a rate of 8.8%.
Williams may never be a home run hitter in the Packers’ backfield, but he demonstrated in 2017 that he doesn’t have to succeed in that way. Paired with his more explosive teammate, Williams could be a big contributor again in 2018.