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Trayveon Williams looks to rise up in a crowded backfield

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Williams can contribute in a lot of different ways if given the opportunity.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images

The Bengals selected two running backs in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The second was Rodney Anderson; the first was Trayveon Williams.

Williams is a true modern running back. Although he is an extremely talented rusher, his strengths are in the pass game.

He is an excellent pass blocker and skilled receiver, with natural hands and an impressive ability to pick up extra yards once the ball is in his hands.

Trayveon Williams

Height: 5-8

Weight: 206

Age: 22

College: Texas A&M

Hometown: Houston, TX

Experience: two years

Cap Status

Williams is entering the 2nd year of his rookie contract. It is a 4-year deal worth just over $2.7 million. This year his base salary is $675,000 and counts as $720,496 against the cap.

Background

Williams had an extremely impressive career at Texas A&M.

He had 4,176 yards-from-scrimmage over the course of his career. This includes a stellar final season in which he rushed for 1,760 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards-per-carry. He also caught 27 passes for 278 yards and another touchdown.

Williams also stood out in pass protection, which is a rare find in a college running back, particularly one who carried the load for his team the way Williams did.

It came as no surprise that the Bengals selected Williams. After all, Bengals’ offensive line coach Jim Turner had spent the previous 3 seasons in College Station. As the Aggies’ offensive line coach, Turner must have appreciated having a running back who could be counted on to pick-up blitzes and edge rushers.

In his first year in Cincinnati, Williams contributed mostly on special teams; he did not record an offensive stat.

Outlook for 2020

Anderson and Williams were drafted into a talented group of running backs and were buried behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard on the depth chart.

Last season Bernard played roughly 40% of offensive snaps for the Bengals. Williams and Bernard share a similar skillset, so they could find themselves in direct competition for those reps.

Bernard suffered an MCL injury in 2018 and carried a smaller workload in 2019. Although neither of these facts means that Bernard is on his way out, Williams is six years younger and could certainly give him a run for his money.

In order to take some of these snaps from Bernard, Williams will need to prove that he has a thorough understanding of the pass protection schemes. He must prove that he can be trusted.

If Williams can impress enough in the passing game, he may be able to earn some reps lined up as a receiver. He would present a different matchup than teams are getting with the Bengals’ other receivers and could be used as a blocker on runs and play action passes.

Roster Odds

Zac Taylor has previously referenced seeing running backs wear down from overuse. This could be an indication that he will prioritize depth at the position.

Williams has a versatile offensive skillset and contributed on special teams. There will certainly be competition in camp, but he does so many things that he should be able to earn a roster spot.

Roster Odds: 65%