If they haven’t already, Packer fans are going to fall in love with former BYU running back Jamaal Williams.
The 6-foot-0, 212-pound running back was even wearing his Poinsettia Bowl shirt when he officially signed his contract Wednesday afternoon next to his agent Leigh Steinberg.
According to Over the Cap, Williams’ four-year deal is expected to be worth around $2.97 million, with a signing bonus just shy of $560,000.
— Leigh Steinberg (@leighsteinberg) May 31, 2017
Williams, who left BYU as the school’s most accomplished running back, is on the path to stardom despite being “just” a fourth-round draft pick.
In fact, he’ll likely have one of the most productive rookie seasons this year which is why fantasy football experts have him pegged as one of the top sleeper picks this season. But if you ask Williams, it’s both an opportunity and a blessing and one that he is going to cherish.
After a phenomenal first year at BYU where he set freshman records for most rushing yards (775) and touchdowns (12) and carries in a single-season, the running back followed it up with a monster sophomore year in which he ran for 1,233 yards and seven touchdowns, including an 182 yard game against Texas and a 219 yard performance against Nevada on just 15 carries.
But after a season-ending injury his junior year and an honor code violation too, Williams could have put his name in the NFL Draft or transferred to another school. But due to his loyalty to the school for giving him his first scholarship, Williams sat out the year before coming back to BYU for his senior season.
And when he came back, Williams finished what he started as he set school records for rushing attempts (726), rushing yards (3,901), 100-yard rushing games (16) and single-game rushing yards (286).
And with stats like that, it’s no wonder why the Packers took him.
“I think he’s going to do really well for himself,” said Jon-Eric Sullivan, the director of college scouting. … “He’s built to last. He’s durable and he’s a tough kid. He’s all football. I think up here in the elements, he’ll be a good get for us when it gets cold. We’re super-excited to have him. I think he’s going to be a good football player.”
But Williams wasn’t the only running back taken. For the first time since 1974, Green Bay took three running backs to help fill a big void left by Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
After Lacy got injured on top of struggling with his weight, Starks was also largely ineffective and let go. That meant the Packers depleted backfield had to rely on Ty Montgomery, a converted wide receiver last year to run the show.
Now that the Packers have a plethora of rookie running backs all vying for playing time with Montgomery, Williams should see plenty of carries come his way.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) May 22, 2017
Last year, Montgomery averaged 5.9 yards per carry, but carried the ball just 77 times. With such a small sample size, Montgomery may be the No. 1 choice right now, but don’t be surprised if Williams passes him to become the main guy.
Coincidently, Williams also averaged 5.9 yards a carry last year, but did so on 234 attempts. Because of that, it’s easy to see why the Packers wanted to shore up its backfield with Williams along with two other draft picks.
While fourth-round picks in their rookie season aren’t on most people’s radar, because of the unusual position the Packers are in, Williams knows he has a golden opportunity to hit the ground running.
Some even compare Williams to Alfred Morris and last year’s fifth-round pick Jordan Howard. Howard, ended up rushing for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns last year for the Bears and many people around the league think Williams will be that guy in 2017.
I've said this before, but if there is a Jordan Howard in this class, I think it's RB Jamaal Williams. Can make an immediate impact #Packers
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) April 29, 2017
I asked @MelKiperESPN who his "Jordan Howard" in this draft is, without hesitation, the name Jamaal Williams from BYU came out.
— Lee (@Nelson81) March 28, 2017