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May 12, 2014

Draft Analysis: Andre Williams

Running back Andre Williams was the first BC player off the board in the NFL Draft after getting picked by the New York Giants in the 4th round (113th overall). Heading into the draft there were a few draft analysts that pegged the GMEN as a potential landing spot for Williams, because his physical running style is very comparable to former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. Despite having some power backs on the roster already, Williams' hard-nosed running style was too tempting for Tom Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese to pass up.

Reese said of Williams, ""You want to pound the rock, this is a guy you pound the rock with. He's smart and tough."

Williams will head into training camp this summer competing against two power back veterans. The Giants' projected starter is former Raiders running back Rashard Jennings, who signed a four-year, 14 million dollar contract in the offseason. Jennings is coming off a career-best season in which he compiled 733 yards on 163 attempts. Those numbers might not blow people away, but you have to remember that Jennings wasn't the starter until the 8th game of the season when he took over for an injured Darren McFadden. Jennings averaged 4.5 yards per carry behind a pretty crappy Raiders offensive line, which was enough to convince the Giants to sign him as a free agent.

With Jennings pegged as the starter, Williams' true competition will probably come against veteran Peyton Hillis, who is entering his 7th year in the league. Hillis became somewhat of a household name during the 2010 season when he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Cleveland Browns. The performance led to the running back being put on the Madden video game cover the next season. Since Hillis' breakout year though, he has been constantly injured and has never duplicated his magical season. Hillis joined the Giants roster back in October last year after several injuries left the Giants in a dire situation with running backs. Hillis started a handful of games in the second half of last season but was largely ineffective.

The other running back in the mix is former 1st round pick David Wilson, who is coming off of neck surgery. Wilson is more of a burner that likes to run outside of the tackles though, and doesn't figure to compete with Williams for playing time.

With the Giants handing out a somewhat hefty contact to Jennings in the offseason it's tough to envision Williams getting more work than him. However, the Heisman Trophy finalist certainly has the skills to beat out an aging Hillis, who carries a two-year, 1.8 million dollar contract. Williams projects to enter the season as a backup to Jennings, and should get the chance to spot him for a couple players per game initially.


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