Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series oflooks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player:Ryan Williams.
Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
5-9, 212Running Back
The Skinny:The Patriots have shown interest, with running backs coach Ivan Fears working Williams out down in Blacksburg, Virginia. Williams had his2010 season ruined production-wise by a torn hamstring and only gained 477 yards (4.3 per carry) but managed nine touchdowns in five starts. As a result, he promises to be undervalued by decision-makers who need to "sell" their draft picks to their owners and fanbases. The Patriots don't have to do that, as the Brandon Tate and Rob Gronkowski picks the last two seasons showed. Williams' speed, aggression, competitive fire and overall package makes him very enticing.Gotta Have Him:In talking to draft analyst Wes Bunting at the National Football Post, Williams is the most suited for the Patriots out of the backs I've profiled (Mark Ingram, Mikel Leshoure). "From a scheme standpoint, he is the best fit," said Bunting. "He runs well from the shotgun, he's a violent slasher, he can catch the football really well. He did have a tendency to run upright but being injured slowed him down and made him run with a lower pad level. Being beat up may have actually enhanced his game."Don't Need Him:BenJarvus Green-Ellis is 5-11, 215 - there may not be enough concrete difference between Williams and Law Firm. Additionally, he's got a style that could lead to dings. A bigger back who's a layup on third-and-2 - like Leshoure - may be a better complement to the stable than Williams.Forecast: In terms of temperament and skill set, Williams seems a really good fit. Tack on the fact he's been hurt and teams are going to let him slide on down as a result of not having that final season of solid tape. Says Buntin, "One thing the Patriots do is, they are so farsighted. They'll look at where a player will be three or four years down the line. For them, Williams would be the best fit, then Leshoure, then Ingram who is the best running back but is the worst blocker and receiver of the group you mentioned.".AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; .AOLWebSuite a color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig cursor: default
Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran