When the KC Chiefs took a running back in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Damien Williams.
The Chiefs brought Williams in prior to the 2018 season, but he was a third string option. He eventually was propelled into the starting job after a decision was made to release Kareem Hunt due to off the field issues.
Williams made enough of an impression during his brief time as a starter that season that he was gifted with a two-year extension and was the RB1 in 2019.
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While Williams had big time moments with the team in both 2018 and 2019, the problem with him is that he’s injury-prone and also is incredibly inconsistent when it comes to production on the field. Throw those in with the fact that he’s 28 years old (which is old for running backs) and it’s safe to say that Williams isn’t going to be the running back of the future in Kansas City.
That being said, we’ve seen how drafting a player’s eventual replacement can light a fire under their butts. That could potentially be the case for Williams in 2020 now that he knows the Chiefs running back job is Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s to lose.
The Chiefs spent their first round pick on Edwards-Helaire this year and they didn’t use that pick on the LSU product to have him hang out on the sidelines. While Edwards-Helaire might not get to start right away, as soon as Williams slips up, it’ll be the first round rookie getting the majority of the snaps and that’ll likely be it for Williams.
That being said, Williams knows all of this going into the season, so he’ll be determined to give it his all and hang onto the RB1 job as long as possible. He was amazing during the playoffs last season and there was absolutely a case to be made for him to win the Super Bowl MVP title rather than Patrick Mahomes.
Nate Taylor of The Athletic wrote a nice piece on Williams and how the pressure is on for him to perform in 2020 or he’ll lose his job (subscription required). Running backs don’t have a long shelf life in the NFL and with Williams getting bit by the injury bug frequently throughout his career, he’ll have to prove to the Chiefs that he can stay healthy and make it through an entire regular season.
Taylor’s article says that Williams is planning to have a breakout season in 2020, which is obviously easier said than done. To this point, his best year was in 2019 with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, where he rushed for 498 yards in 11 games (six starts) with seven total touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving).
The pressure is on for Damien Williams in 2020 and with Clyde Edwards-Helaire now in Kansas City looking to show that he can a game changer at the running back position, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Williams this year.