Week 17 Mini-Report: RB Trayveon Williams, CIN v. BAL
I went back through some of the ‘of interest’ game tape/performances from Week 17, took scouting notes, and am sharing some of what I saw this game week – with an eye on long-term/Dynasty/2021.
I saw the initial box score of this game, and at a glance I was happy/pleased to see Trayveon Williams led the Bengals in rushing with 74 yards. Finally, I thought, he got some kind of chance. But, once I set out to re-watch this game tape – I saw that he led the team in rushing, but only had 4 carries?!?!?!
This game was a blowout Week 17 Sunday, and with so many other interesting games going on at the same time I kinda lost track/didn’t focus much on this one during the live, multi game viewing. I didn’t remember seeing Trayveon doing anything of note…and now I know why – just 4 carries. Disappointing.
Here are my notes from re-watching his Week 17 game…
1) What happened to the Texas A&M star?
In 2018, Trayveon ran for 1,760 yards and 18 TDs (with 27 catches, 278 rec. yds, and another TD) as a junior for Texas A&M. He declared early for the draft and I thought he was a top 10 RB prospect for his 2019 NFL Draft. B-C grade not A-B grade. Good/solid/useful prospect with a little upside, maybe. I liked him, in general.
He ended up a forgettable 6th-round draft pick of the new Zac Taylor regime Bengals. A let down with how he fell in the draft, but RBs can pop from any draft status or undrafted. Stuck behind Joe Mixon wasn’t going to create opportunity but as RBs tend to go down – he might get a shot eventually.
2) Well, Joe Mixon did go down…again.
When Mixon missed a few games in 2019, I was not shocked that Trayveon wasn’t forced into playing/touches as a rookie. However, when Mixon went down and out in 2020 – I expected Trayveon to get a deeper look in a lost season (Burrow and Mixon gone, and season essentially over – why not take a look at the young players?).
There’s one thing very clear to me after watching 2019 and 2020 – the NFL, it’s head coaches, have absolutely NO interest in developing players or ‘seeing what the youngster can do’. It’s a myth. It’s what good business people would do…but NFL head coaches are not good businesspeople, they are creatures of habit and want to win next week. Long range planning is something they may not be around for. Most all NFL head coaches live in a world where they exist week-to-week. The only young prospect/player that got ‘a look’ out of nowhere in Week 17 was Nate Sudfeld, and that was so Doug Pederson could throw a game. It wasn’t a real ‘look’.
The only way a non-starter, #3-4 (or lower) on the depth chart, lowly drafted/UDFA RB gets any type of chance in the NFL is if the #1 and #2 RBs get hurt and the head coach is forced to use the #3+ RB in a crisis/emergency, and then they might mistakenly discover what they have.
Williams was the #4 RB for Cincy to start this season. When Mixon went down, #2 Gio Bernard took over…and #3 Samaje Perine assisted. Williams barely touched the ball. In fact, it was Perine who got an actual ‘look’ in the wake of Mixon getting hurt. Williams being a never used #4 RB for the sad Bengals is like being the #8 RB on the 49ers or Patriots or Rams, etc. It’s a ‘stink’ that cannot be washed off easily. No one in the NFL is going to be interested in Williams going forward – he’s going to be a journeyman in short order, it looks like.
3) Trayveon’s 55-yard run here...
Williams entered the game with 3+ minutes left in the 3rd-quarter and took a hand-off off tackle and the hole was wide open, he ran through it untouched and was sprinting downfield with a couple yard advantage/head start over the defenders…but he was caught up to by Marlon Humphrey and brought down for a nice gain.
There was nothing special about it – a wide-open hole in a blowout and he ran through it and couldn’t outrun anyone for long. He got a meaningless carry soon after.
After those two carries, and one of them a 55-yard pop -- the next time Williams was in the game (a game the Bengals were getting destroyed in) was the final two carries/plays of the game. That’s what Zac Taylor thinks of Trayveon Williams – little/nothing. He isn’t worthy of a look in a Week 17 game while his team is getting blown out.
Summary: I saw little this entire season to get excited about with Williams. I think he has some talent and would be fine if forced into playing time – but his purposed opportunity in the future is about a 0% chance of happening. No one is looking at him as a player or project. He will either be a #3-4 RB with Cincy again in 2021…or released and bounces off and on rosters for a few years as injuries hit and teams need a warm body, and then he disappears quietly.
Watching this Week 17 game, any tiny bit of interest I have in Williams is dead and buried. There are too many other interesting RBs to long shot invest in over Trayveon.
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