Ryan Williams may have been the biggest surprise pick of the draft, besides the early quarterback picks of Jake Locker (8th overall, Titans) and Christian Ponder (12th overall, Vikings).
Those choices were most definitely reaches – I do not expect either to start immediately (and if they do, those teams will be choosing even higher next season).
However, Arizona’s surprise choice of Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams will not go down in history as a “reach”. Or a bad draft choice at all for that matter.
The only reason why most people were suspect of the pick is that the Cardinals have three running backs already on the roster that are more than capable of performing their role if healthy.
However, there were two things in that statement that stand out to me and stood out to the Cardinals. 1. The running backs on the roster are capable of performing their “role”. Arizona does not have a feature back – until now.
Tim Hightower is a speed guy with a little bit of power. He can break a long run at any time. Beanie Wells would be our power back if he could stay on the field. Larod Stephens-Howling is a situational back that will occasionally run the ball, but is more of a blocker and a receiving threat.
Now with Ryan Williams soon to be on the roster, the Cardinals will have some hefty decisions to make.
Williams, at 5’9” and 210 pounds, is very elusive and hard to bring down. He has the speed of Howling and contains a lot of power in the small frame – think Jones-Drew.
Williams had a more prolific year in 2009 than in 2010, scoring 22 touchdowns (21 rush) and averaging 5.6 yards per carry. In 2010 he has slowed by an injury (only 110 carries) but was still have to score 10 touchdowns on the season and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. His raw athleticism and ability to put the ball in the end zone surely is what prompted the Cardinals to make this pick.
The Cardinals backfield is now loaded, and they finally have a guy that they can lean on when they are in need of a big run, or to wind games down with the running game – something the Cardinals have really never been able to do.
Basically, Williams may have been brought in to be our “closer”. Either way, I liked the fact that Whisenhunt and the front office stuck to their draft board, and our needs were filled later in the draft with quality players. With Williams being the 15th best player on the Cards board and taking him at the 38th overall pick, Arizona once again got great value.