The LA Rams rookie running back Kyren Williams had to have been a bit disappointed over the way his debut has gone with the Rams offense so far. The LA Rams clearly thought enough about the young man to trade up to a position to select him in the 2022 NFL Draft. But after injuring his foot, his availability, and sheer lack of familiarity with the Rams offense, have all but curtailed the chances of his participation.
Pick 164: RB Kyren Williams
But he is back in pads, back on the football field, so now the only holdup is when will he demonstrate enough working knowledge of the Rams’ plays and the responsibility of the running back position to make sense to participate in preseason games.
So far, Williams has not shown up in the preseason, but the Rams host the Houston Texans on August 19, 2022, at 7:00 pm PT. Well, will he or won’t he participate in that one?
Williams is a versatile swiss-army knife weapon that does everything well enough to be a three-down back in the LA Rams offense. Unfortunately, his almost instant injury has placed the shroud of uncertain availability around him. That has placed him among the players who, like Tutu Atwell, may simply be held out of preseason competition to ensure he is available at the start of the regular season.
Rams News: RB Kyren Williams could turn some heads in the preseason
While I agree with the overall philosophy, I can see more value in giving the rookie rusher a taste of NFL action in preseason games, and believe that benefit outweighs the risks. If he gets the rust knocked off of him in preseason games, I can see him rushing for 600 yards and putting up nearly another 400 yards of receiving yards. Too optimistic? The Rams are going with both Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr., two running backs who were injured last season, and who have already been limited this season with soft tissue injuries before the season ever starts.
While that is not a guarantee of opportunity, there is plenty at stake for the LA Rams to get their final roster selections correct. If the Rams go too thin at running back, future injuries could place them back in the NFL market for another veteran to add to the roster. However, if the Rams go too heavy on running backs, they will need to go light elsewhere, and some positions like a wide receiver or defensive back will suffer the loss of NFL talent should that happen.
Should Williams see preseason action, I think he has the potential to raise some eyebrows. Depending on how much work he gets, I can see him averaging more than 4.0 yards per rush and if he is given the opportunity to handle the pigskin in the red zone, he will get a touchdown as well.
In 15 carries, I would expect him to generate 72 yards rushing, one touchdown, and four receptions for another 30 yards of offense. Of course, that is entirely dependent on playing, and getting sufficient opportunities to perform.
I believe that the Rams need to KNOW what they have in Kyren Williams before final cuts, if for nothing else than to make informed decisions over who to keep on the active roster, and who to sign the team’s practice squad.