Can Ryan Williams Fill The Cowboys Void at Running Back?

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Ryan Williams has been looming in the shadows of the Cowboys Practice Squad. Many fans are not even aware he exists. Prior to injury, Ryan Williams set single season records for the Hokies: 1,655 yards and 21 TDs in 2009.

ryan williams

Ryan Williams signed with the Dallas Cowboys on May 19, 2014. He began his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals when he was drafted 38th overall in the 2011 NFL draft. On August 19, 2011 during a pre-season game against the Packers, Williams was injured early in the third quarter in his first carry of the game. He suffered from a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee and missed the entire 2011 season. Williams was released by the Cardinals on May 12, 2014.

ryan williamsRyan Williams, RB

Height|Weight: 5-9  207

College: Virgina Tech

NFL Experience: 4 years

Grade: 85.5

 There has been a lot of speculation as to what the Dallas Cowboys front office is going to do with DeMarco Murray. Now that Joseph Randle has pulled his next irresponsible act of getting caught with marijuana, he has only solidified the fact that he doesn’t take his NFL career seriously. That being said, Jerry Jones may be in a pickle. Many are wondering if he will draft a RB, sign a free agent like Adrian Peterson, or extend Murray. This is where Ryan Williams may come in to play.

ryan wiliams

Film Study:


  • Ryan Williams appears small in size, but runs bigger. He has had some bad luck with injuries which raises a red flag with me. Stats don’t always tell the right story. Many would say his YPC doesn’t say much, but when I watched the tape his OL left a lot to be desired. Taking that in to consideration, he is a solid RB.
  • Ryan Williams has good vision and plays with patience. When the hole isn’t there he does a nice job of cutting back or getting to the edge: turning nothing in to positive yardage. He has good feet and fluid hips. Can run between the tackles or get to the edge. Nose for the endzone and finds a way to get there. Good burst to hit the hole. Solid instincts. Elusive style of running. Makes nice cuts and has excellent change of direction. Very effective catching the ball out of the back field. Runs good routes. Was used as a deep threat at times. Soft hands.
  • Ryan Williams may have some durability issues as an every down back, but only time on the field will decide that. Worst case scenario, he would make a nice change of pace back. Needs to improve as a blocker. Doesn’t have elite straight line speed, but has the ability to make guys miss. Could stand to get stronger. Doesn’t have the power to move a pile.

Overall I liked what I saw from Ryan Williams. I only had access to his college tape so I don’t know what he has improved on since he has been in the NFL. Any player who had 21 rushing TDs in a single season has oodles of potential. In my opinion, if he can stay healthy he is a legitimate weapon in Scott Linehans Arsenal. Until I can get a look at him in the preseason, I am unable to ascertain whether or not he can replace Randle, but  based on his college tape, I can see why he was drafted at the top of the 2nd round. I believe if it hadn’t been for his injury in college, he would have been a 1st round pick. I say give the guy some game time. The ceiling is high if he can stay healthy.

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  • Lionone1

    Yep! My thoughts exactly. When I hear people want to draft a running back in the first two rounds I’m just thinking they already have a RB with a high grade on him. He is risky of course, with the injury history. But, Gurley would be a risky pick also.
    I like Murray and it wouldn’t bother me if they can keep him. It’s just hard to imagine having any cap room at all for necesary needs with Ryan as a reasonable option.

  • californy

    I think AP want to get out of his contract so he can chase the money in FA. Minny now see him having value as a trading token. AP fumble 1 for every 77 times, while many claim Murray as being a fumbler he fumbles at the same rate Emmit Smith did at 1 for every 116 times he touches the ball.

    There talk about a RB losing value as he get older, but the fact the Cowboys ran Murray a low 31th in rushing his first 2 season, and the third Season Cowboy still were no higher than 24th in attempts should mean Murray has plenty of Tread left to be effective runner for the next 3 years

    • Lionone1

      I don’t worry about Murray as a fumbler but boy did he fumble at the worst time against Green Bay.

      • californy

        in the play off games Parnell was being lit up, it was no surprise a player like Pepper took him to school. Ansah took him to school the week before. What Pepper did to Murray, he did to everyone else, he was one of the leader in creating Fumble in the NFL. BTW there never a good time to fumble.

        • Lionone1

          It wasn’t Parnell on Pepper it was Martin, he pulled. Parnell pushed his guy upfield about 30 yards. Still a great play was made by Pepper. Cas always says Murray carries the ball like a loaf of bread. Lol No its never a good time to fumble. Especially in a back and forth game like that was.