Presenting your 2016 San Diego Chargers.
The San Diego Chargers already had three tailbacks on the roster, but when the New York Giants surprisingly waived Andre Williams, they quickly pounced on adding a fourth.
As General Manager Tom Telesco explains, the decision was a no-brainer.
"You always look for things you can hang your hat on as a player, and what we like about him is his power run game," he said. "He is downhill runner with strength. He'll get you yards after contact. He's a short-yardage, goal line back who can carry a heavy load. He carried the load in college, and carried a heavy load his rookie year in New York. To get a guy in here with his size and strength, with pretty good speed for a big guy, it was (an easy decision). And he is a pretty good special teamer, which helps when you are not the starting running back."
Perhaps no one was more surprised than Williams to find himself in the Chargers' locker room on Monday. A 5-11, 230-pound product out of Boston College, the Giants selected Williams with 113th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft. He burst onto the scene that year, becoming the first rookie to lead New York in rushing in 15 seasons. However, he struggled to find a groove last season when the team deployed a four running backs by committee approach.
Still only 24 years old with a track record of success, Williams never expected the Giants to cut bait after two years. He carried the ball 305 times for 978 yards and eight touchdowns along with 19 receptions for 137 yards over two seasons, and now looks to reward the Bolts' faith in him.
"It feels really good to be a Charger," he said. "I'm very happy, flattered and honored that this team claimed me off waivers. That they thought that much of me that they want me to be part of their team. I want to contribute, so first I need to learn what I have to do in order to perform on the field. Right now that means learning the playbook."
Williams is a physical running back who seeks out contact and punishes would-be tacklers. While that is his bread and butter style, he refuses to put limitations on how he can be used.
"I don't shy away from contact. I have a unique combination of speed and size. You watch the film, that's what you'll see. I'm not going to define my role. I am going to let the coaching staff define it. My focus is to show them what my abilities are. How they choose to use me after that is up to them, but I feel I can be very productive in all phases of the game."
Williams' addition also means the Bolts have two of the past three winners of the Doak Walker Award, which is annually given to the top running back in college football. He won the award following his senior season in 2013, and the next year Melvin Gordon took it home. Now, number 28 looks forward to getting his new teammate up to speed.
"He's a good back," Gordon said. "He was very productive in college, and definitely made some plays at this level. He is going to be a good contributor to our team, and push us to make us better. Really right now the big thing is for him to learn the playbook. That's the first thing he has to do. He's played in this league and knows how to be a running back. Now he just has to learn our system, so I am going to do whatever I can to help him there. Once he learns the playbook, he'll be rolling."