It was definitely a strange year for the Green Bay Packers, to say the least. Starting off the year, the Packers made a shocking move and traded out of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and decided to wait for day two to make their first selection. When the trade was announced it was all but official who the Packers were going to take, and with the 33rd selection, the Packers chose Washington cornerback Kevin King. After a horrendous season overall for the Packers secondary, getting help in the draft was a sure thing, after all, it’s not like they were going to go sign someone from free agency.
Anyways, for a team that needed major defensive help, the Packers once again decided to throw a curveball and keep the fans guessing. The final six selections for the Pack were offensive players. Three running backs, two wide receivers, and one offensive lineman were chosen, and the draft concluded. Many fans did not know what to think of the draft, but the Packers late draft success has been duly noted. Players like Blake Martinez, Aaron Ripkowski, Corey Linsley, and Mike Daniels were all selected in round four or later, all of whom have gone on to have good careers so far.
Who would the Packers late round stud be this year? Many thought it would be Wisconsin alum Vince Biegel, who was selected with the first pick in the fourth round. But after a foot injury halted the start of his pro career, it was easy to look at the next pick for the Packers in that fourth round.
The BYU standout Jamaal Williams somehow was not selected in the first 133 spots before he basically fell into the laps of the Packers. While he did not have as good of a rookie season for a running back compared to the Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette or the Saints’ Alvin Kamara, Williams single-handedly led the Packers to wins down the stretch. That’s why Cream City Central is naming Jamaal Williams the Packers 2017 rookie of the year.
If not for Williams performance against Tampa Bay, a game where Brett Hundley managed to throw for just 84 pass yards, the Packers playoff hopes may have ended right then and there. The following week at Cleveland, Williams also helped the Packers secure another victory in lieu of another mediocre day from Brett Hundley.
Stats wise, you can argue someone else for the spot for rookie of the year, but for someone who made such an immediate impact, Williams is the only option here. Yes, it would take an eventual injury to fellow rookie running back Aaron Jones for Williams to shine, but he made the most of every opportunity. Williams would finish the 2017 season with 556 rushing yards, 262 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns.
Williams is a very physical back. He was able to pound through defensive fronts with ease at times. That physicality also translated to pass protection. With a weak offensive line that the Packers possessed throughout the season, a running back with good pass protection can prove very beneficial.
Hopefully, Williams can avoid a sophomore slump and pick up right where he left off last year. His style of play paired with the best quarterback in the game today can be a lethal combination. Aaron Rodgers has led this offense through the air for years, maybe a new found run game can be just what the doctor ordered for another Packers Super Bowl run. Only time will tell, however.