At 5’11, 222 pounds, Dolphins running back Damien Williams stands tall. As a rookie free agent, Williams has come into training camp looking to unseat Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee as both recover from injuries.
In the past two games, Williams, built like a bowling ball, has bulldozed his way into the end zone on goal line plays. Right up the middle, Williams has the thankless job, of burrowing his head into the hole and finding pay dirt as a reward. For Williams, his low to the ground running style, with power has allowed him to rise onto the Dolphins depth chart.
However, things haven’t always been so rosy for Williams whose 2013 season playing for the one time power house. the Oklahoma Sooners. Unfortunately, Williams missed time in November and December due to being dismissed from the team by coach Bob Stoops. This set back was not lost on scouts who had this to say about the young man: (NFL.COM)
Williams is “quickfooted, can sidestep the first tackler and run through some arm tackles.” However, Williams “lacks strength, power and drive to run inside, and grind out tough yardage.” This same report mentions that Williams has still the same JUCO habits and grades him as a 7throunder or priority free agent.
That being said, Williams came to camp ready to prove the naysayers wrong and did that he did. Williams, as of now, is making the most of his playing time.
In the past three pre-season games, Williams has demonstrated he belongs. Versus the Atlanta Falcons he showed his worst performance of 2 yards on 6 carries. Next, versus the Buccaneers, he had 11 carries for 20 yards and 1 touchdown. Lastly, versus the Cowboys, he earned 47 tough yards on 12 carries.
The question remains, why does Williams belong on the 53 man roster? To many insiders, Williams seems to be a favorite. He seems to spark support amongst the Miami Dolphins beat writers who on Monday have selected him as the favorite to land on the depth chart superseding the incomplete performances of Mike Gillislee and former second round pick Daniel Thomas.
In fact, in early predictions, James Walker of ESPN and Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel predict he will make the final 53.
Top performers for today's session were: 1. Shelley Smith (opening holes) 2. Damien Williams (locked down 3rd RB spot) 3. DT Kamal Johnson
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) August 25, 2014
The question is, will Williams be that short yardage spark plug that the Dolphins desperately seek? A young back that can and will take advantage of the situation by putting necessary points on the board.
For Dolphins fans, Williams is one to root for, no matter the role he plays on the team, because for Williams, he’s that diamond in the rough player that the Dolphins need to serve up to their fan base and jam at opposing defensive lines to win the battle in the trenches.