Kerwynn Williams and His Prospects for 2017

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Kerwynn Williams is looking to find a permanent role in 2017

The Arizona Cardinals had one of the best running backs in the NFL last season, in David Johnson. Behind him, however, it was chaos. Injuries knocked out Chris Johnson and Stepfan Taylor, while Andre Ellington was ineffective. Little-used Kerwynn Williams wound up being cut, then signed, then cut and signed again in an effort to fill the roster.

Williams has never really been able to find a place in the NFL. Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, but saw only preseason action. It was the same in San Diego, which is where he went next. In 2014, he joined the Cardinals.

His first chance to play in a regular season game came late in the 2014 season, and Williams rushed for 100 yards He would rush for a total of 246 yards over the last four games of that season, and show some promise.

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Williams was cut by the Cardinals twice more in 2015, and again prior to the 2016 season, but always found his way back onto the team. Most recently, he was pressed into action by an injury to David Johnson in week 17 of last season. He ran for 60 yards and a score in that game.

The Cardinals are in transition at the running back position. Johnson is the clear starter, but behind him, Williams is the only guy with experience that is under contract. This off-season will be key for Williams, if he’s to finally find a home.

Coming out of college, the knock on Williams was size and vision. He did, however, possess good top speed, and the ability to effectively catch the ball out of the backfield, something important to Cardinals coaches.

The career path Williams has followed has not been ideal. He has failed to do enough to convince coaches to keep him around at any point. He’ll be 26 years old before the 2017 season, and though he doesn’t have much experience, he does sport a career average of 5.6 yards per carry. He also has a skillset that fits what the Cardinals like to do.

Next: Five Running Backs the Cardinals Could Add in 2017

The Cardinals could bring back one of their free agent backs, and if it’s Ellington, Williams is likely gone. They could also use a draft pick at the position. However, Williams left coaches with a positive image in his final game, and will probably get a fair chance to impress this off-season. It’s been a shaky start to his career, but 2017 will be a crossroad, and maybe his final chance to find a stable spot on a team.