Green Bay Packers 2018 roster preview: Jamaal Williams

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Jamaal Williams
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Jamaal Williams /

After an impressive rookie season, what can we expect from Jamaal Williams in 2018?

The Green Bay Packers needed more talent at the running back position last offseason. They responded by drafting three.

The first was Jamaal Williams, and he put together an impressive rookie season after a slow start.

What role will Williams have on the team this year?

2017 stats

Williams led the Packers in carries with 153, which he turned into a team-high 556 yards and four touchdowns, tied for the lead with Aaron Jones, who also found the end zone on four occasions. Williams also added 262 receiving yards and two touchdowns, posting the fourth-most receiving yards on the team, ahead of Geronimo Allison and Lance Kendricks.

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2017 review

After a slow start, Williams stepped up and led the backfield for much of the season.

The rookie wasn’t given many opportunities early in the season. When Ty Montgomery got injured in Week 4, Williams only lasted four carries before also getting hurt.

But when Aaron Jones went down with an injury of his own, Williams was given an opportunity and never looked back. He ran hard in Chicago, turning 20 carries into 64 yards. While that might not sound like much, he made some important runs to move the chains and showed a lot of potential.

As the season moved on, Williams continued to improve. He posted 135 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers, before backing it up with 113 yards and a score in the following week’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Odds of making roster: 100 percent

The Packers’ top three running backs are all going to make the roster. The real question is whether the Packers will keep a fourth back, such as second-year Devante Mays. Also, how does head coach Mike McCarthy plan to use his running backs this season?

2018 preview

Williams is a talented player and will continue to play an important role for the Green Bay Packers.

But Mike McCarthy spoke about using a running back-by-committee approach this season, which might not suit Williams’ style of play. He’s a workhorse who is at his best when he has the chance to wear down defenses and then make them pay as the game goes on.

By rotating the backs, it’s likely to better suit Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery — Jones because of his explosiveness and big-play ability as a runner, and Montgomery because of his versatility.

That said, if Williams can stand out at training camp and force McCarthy to give him more carries, he could look to land an Eddie Lacy-type role as the featured back.

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Williams is a player to watch this summer.