We’re Either Way Too Low, or Way Too Low on Damien Williams


Earlier in the week we dropped our rookie composite ranks, which are currently my favorite articles on the site. I spend a lot of time looking at prospects, but getting the input of the other writers on the site makes all of that time looking as prospects even more valuable I think. It takes about two minutes of looking at the ranks for me to find a guy that the other writers have correctly ranked, but where I’m too high or too low on the player.

With that said, the RotoViz writers are way too low on Damien Williams. I think for there to be 19 RBs better than Williams, he would have to get hit by a bus tomorrow (knock on wood that this doesn’t actually happen, not so much for the sake of this article, but because that would be a terrible thing to happen to any person).

Amidst all of the noise of the draft season there are three components of signal emanating from Mr. Williams. They are as follows:

  • 222 pounds
  • Had 2.6 receptions per game in 2012
  • Ran a 4.45 forty at the Combine (and that’s probably a real time considering that he also had a 95 yard run on college)

All of the rest of the information on Williams is noise. I mean it’s not really noise. It matters. But it doesn’t matter in terms of his ability to be a winning lottery ticket for your dynasty team someday.

Those three elements of signal mean that when Mr. Williams’ time comes he could have as much upside as any back in this class. More than a few of the backs in front of him, he really does have feature back potential. Sure he has “working at Best Buy in 18 months” potential too. But when prices are cheap – and they are cheap for Damien Williams – then the asymmetry of the bet is what matters.

I remember during the 2010 preseason, after I had just used a first round keeper pick on Arian Foster 1, I heard a well known tape grinder call Foster a “plodder”. But Foster’s ploddingness was just noise. What ended up mattering was that he was on an offense that had historically returned value for RBs, Foster had played well on limited chances in 2009, and he had receiving potential as evidenced by a 39 catch season at Tennessee.

I’ve mentioned Arian Foster a few times when discussing Williams even though the odds that Williams repeats Foster’s meteoric rise are between slim and none. But Williams does have ability to rack up touches in the run and pass game, he’s fast enough to have really high upside, and he’s big enough for a team to feel like they could give him a full time job.

  1. so after my three keepers, he was my fourth player chosen  (back)
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