When the Arizona Cardinals selected Ryan Williams with the 38th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft it seemed like a bit of a shock. With Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells already on the roster and other positions seeming to be bigger “needs” for the team, one can understand why there was questioning right when the pick was made.
I’ve come up with five reasons for why Williams being drafted by the Cardinals makes sense.
1. The Cardinals were last in rushing in 2010. Dead last. They averaged fewer than 87 yards per game.
To put it simply, Hightower and Wells didn’t get the job done. If you finish at the bottom of the league in a category then you need to address it moving forward. The Cardinals did that with their second pick.
2. The quarterback play was so awful and is suspect going forward, they needed to make sure the run game has everything it can in order for the offense to be successful.
The reason the running game was so bad was because the quarterback play was awful and therefore teams were allowed to stack the box with seven and eight guys, right?
Wrong. While I have to absolutely agree with the quarterback play being awful, I also want to look at the situation the other way around.
Did you really expect Derek Anderson (or Matt Leinart) to come in and light things up with his arm?
No, you didn’t. Or you really shouldn’t have. The running game was supposed to take pressure off the quarterback and open up the passing game a little.
It never happened. Something needs to change. There has to be production on the ground.
3. You can never have too much depth in the backfield. The Cardinals recognized that and jumped at the chance to select someone who was ranked 15 on their big board. Wells missed most of training camp his rookie year and was held out for three games in 2010 due to injury.
I like Hightower, but the offense can’t rely on him alone to be producing all the ground work.
4. The Cardinals just spent a first round pick on a running back — Beanie Wells, 31st overall in 2009. When that pick was made everyone thought the pick was made for the future. Kurt Warner was coming back for at least one more year and when he retired Wells was expected to be there to help shape an offense that didn’t have a quarterback that could sling the ball all over the field (presumably Leinart).
The future was last year. As far as I’m concerned, Wells was nowhere to be found. He looks good on paper, even better in a uniform, but between the lines — or how about between the tackles — not so much.
Wells is young and “could” still be a featured running back in an offense.
Yes, he could be. But what have we seen so far? That’s what we should really be evaluating.
Only time will tell on Williams. I hope his being drafted helps us find Wells.
5. The Cardinals could have three running backs complimenting each other. That excites me. Makes me smile. Being able to ram the ball down a defense’s throat for 60 of the 80-yard drive is a beautiful thing.
With the addition of Williams the Cardinals could very easily turn into a grinding, power football team. Get rid of the 20 rushing attempts per game and keep the ball on the ground. I would like to see 35-40 rushing attempts per game in 2011. It takes pressure off the quarterback, controls the game and the team would have better clock management/time of possession.
So, in closing, is Williams the answer? I’m not saying he is. I am saying the lack of a running game was cause for concern and attention. They addressed that concern with the selection of Williams.
As far as their other needs go, that’s what free agency is for. At least this year.
What I learned this week…
Philadelphia Phillie Roy Halladay started the game on Sunday against the New York Mets by throwing 18 straight strikes. That’s the most by a pitcher since New York Met Sid Fernandez did it in 1991.
Interesting tidbit and very impressive.
Tweet of the week…
No specific tweet this week. I couldn’t remember whose tweet it was that I first saw that said, ‘Osama bin Laden is dead’, so I’ve decided not to pick one.
I could have gone with the tweet that told be President Obama would be speaking at 10:30 p.m. ET on a Sunday night, Rashard Mendenhall’s now controversial tweet(s), Ozzie Guillen saying he was going to get in trouble for his tweet/tirade or many other tweets that I’ve seen in the past 72 hours in regards to the death of bin Laden.
This week, it only seems appropriate the one to tell me he was dead (45 minutes before television did) should be the pick, and since I can’t remember I’m going with none of them.
Suggestion of the week…
Take a look at this footage from a dorm room in Tuscaloosa, Alabama last week as tornadoes spun through the area.