Sunday, September 4, 2011
Lions claim power back in Keiland Williams
By Kevin Seifert
The Detroit Lions' interest in adding a running back was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFC North this weekend. Sunday, they claimed a power back who on paper has an appropriately different skill set than starter Jahvid Best.
Keiland Williams is a 230-pound power back who gained 261 yards and also caught 39 passes in 15 games last season with the Washington Redskins. He'll join a group that includes Best along with veterans Jerome Harrison and Maurice Morris. Aaron Brown was released Sunday to create Williams' roster spot.
I'm betting that Harrison will be the first runner off the bench early this season, but Williams is an intriguing prospect. Here's part of the Scouts Inc. player evaluation on him: "Williams is a big, strong back with power to move the pile on contact. He lacks great burst and speed but has good inline vision and cutting ability. He has reliable hands as a receiver out of the backfield and is able to pick up chunks of yards downfield."
As we've discussed, Best can be a big-time playmaker but isn't really a feature back. The Lions hoped to use rookie Mikel Leshoure in that role, but Leshoure's season-ending Achilles injury forced a change to those plans.
General manager Martin Mayhew is known for tweaking his roster throughout the season, so I wouldn't say he is finished dealing with the repercussions of Leshoure's injury. But for now, Harrison, Morris and Williams will provide offensive coordinator Scott Linehan some credible options.