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It’s surprising RB Darrel Williams chose to sign with the Chiefs

BYU v LSU Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

LSU running back Darrel Williams was one of the 14 players who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs before last weekend’s rookie minicamp began.

The reason you may not recognize Williams’ name despite him coming from one of the most prestigious programs in the nation is just that—coming from such a program meant there were two rather talented backs ahead of him, Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice.

But that didn’t stop’s Lance Zierlein from giving Williams a fifth-round grade, calling him “a well-built running back with NFL size and toughness and ability to handle short-yardage carries, as well as passes out of the backfield.”

Williams is listed at 6 feet and 225 pounds.

At LSU last season, the carry split between Guice and Williams was 237 and 145, respectively, with Guice totaling 1,284 yards while Williams had 842. But a deeper number crunch (oh yes, it’s called division) reveals that it was Williams (5.7) with a higher yards-per-carry average than Guice (5.3).

But even with the rave reviews from evaluators and those numbers, Williams went undrafted.

And though that isn’t the best case scenario if you’re Williams, it did afford him the opportunity to choose where he wanted to play...

...which is why I’m suprised he picked the Chiefs.

Not that the Chiefs aren’t a great destination for running backs—look what Kareem Hunt was able to accomplish as a rookie last season—it’s that the room of backs is rather crowded. We tried to make sense of all the running back signings earlier this offseason.

As it stands now, here’s how the RB room looks:

  • Kareem Hunt
  • Spencer Ware
  • Charcandrick West
  • Damien Williams
  • Kerwynn Williams
  • Darrel Williams
  • JD Moore
  • FB Anthony Sherman

(Dear Brett—while I like this room, I’m not sure there are enough Williamses. Can you do something about that? Yours, Pete)

While I realize that last year brought along special circumstances because of the injury to Ware, in case you forgot, the Chiefs kept only three backs, including Sherman, at the final 53-man cutdown.

If they were to do the same this year, that’s two open spots for Darrel Williams. So why in the world would he come to the Chiefs?

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me,” Williams told BJ Kissel of Chiefs dot com. “They’ve got a great group of running backs here, and I was going to be able to come in and compete for a spot and try to make the team.”

Williams also mentioned the Chiefs’ new RBs coach (don’t forget Eric Bieniemy is now the offensive coordinator), Deland McCullough.

“I’ve been talking to him since the Senior Bowl,” he said. “The bond we have is one of a kind—it’s like he’s been coaching me for years. It’s just been a great experience.”

McCullough was the Indiana RBs coach from 2011-2016, joined USC in the same role in 2017 and finally came to the Chiefs when the team bumped Bieniemy to OC this past offseason.

I’ve come to a couple conclusions regarding the Chiefs and Williams here:

1) Despite a packed room, Williams truly thinks he’s better than each of the veterans behind Kareem Hunt, which he may very well be. And I don’t think his words were player speak. He must find comfort in McCullough, who in turn must really like Williams if he recruited him to Kansas City.

2) Williams is a dark horse to watch this offseason and training camp. Where he gets his reps in relation to the rest of the room behind Hunt as time goes on will be something to pay attention to.

3) The Chiefs had to have hated that they ended camp with just two backs they trusted last year, so they are guaranteeing that doesn’t happen again. I’ll point to this Andy Reid quote from mid-April:

“You can’t have enough of those guys. That’s a tough decision. There’s availability there. We figured, listen, if we have a chance to get good players lets go ahead and better ourselves, let the competition be there and see what happens. I’m expecting Spencer (Ware) to be back, but you never know and you’ve got kids that can play. There’s going to be great competition right there. It’s going to be a pretty neat battle to watch.”

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