The Bengals went to a familiar place when they selected Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams in the 6th Round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Williams will join veterans Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard in the Bengals backfield forming a 3-headed monster like Cerberus from Greek mythology or Fluffy from Harry Potter if you prefer.
Either way, this is an excellent addition that adds some much-needed depth to the group. Zac Taylor witnessed first hand the effects that a long and grueling NFL season can have on a running back with Todd Gurley in 2018. Adding Williams is a step in the right direction to avoid such burnout with Mixon.
What Williams brings to the Bengals
Change Up: Williams has a unique running style that is very different from Mixon and Bernard. He is constantly moving forward making subtle cuts to avoid tackles and despite standing only 5 feet 9 inches tall, he runs high. Some see this as a negative due to leverage, but that is not the case. High runners can actually be very difficult to tackle. This difference in running style can throw off defenses who have been trying to tackle Mixon all day.
Multi-Purpose: Williams was a dominant force in the Aggie offense last season, rushing for 1,760 yards and 18 touchdowns and adding another 278 yards and 1 touchdown receiving. Williams was not just a check down option in the pass game. Texas A&M would line him up at receiver from time to time and frequently set up screens to him out of the backfield.
When called upon to stay in and block on pass plays, he did a very good job in both his understanding and execution of pass protection. It makes you wonder if offensive line coach Jim Turner who worked with Williams at Texas A&M played a role in the selection.
Durability: Many people think that players who are not very big are prone to injuries, but that is not true in every case. Williams is only 200 pounds, but despite a whopping 298 touches in 2018 his body not held out.
Why the Bengals drafted Williams
Depth: The unfortunate dismissal of Mark Walton pretty much guaranteed that the Bengals would be using a Day 3 pick on a running back. Williams does not have big shoes to fill as Walton was unimpressive on the field and even less impressive off of the field in his short time in Cincinnati.
Injury Concern: Mixon missed a little time last year which forced Bernard to take the bulk of the carries. Hopefully both Mixon and Bernard play key roles in the new offense and Williams can serve in a support role for either in case of injury.
Bernard’s Contract: With Bernard hitting free agency following this season, it will be good to have another back behind Mixon who is familiar with the team and scheme.