The preseason has not even started yet. Already, the New England Patriots will be down a man as Michael Williams tore his ACL at minicamp and is set to miss the entire 2016 NFL season.
According to an ESPN Boston report, the injury did not happen in any contact drills. Instead, it occurred in 7-on-7. And for those who are not familiar with 7-on-7, it is essentially working the passing game and pass defense simultaneously without any linemen except a center.
The Patriots are going to have to put him on waivers. But they may hold off on doing so because they do not want to place him on waivers.
Those who are familiar with Williams remember he was not so much of a route runner as he was a blocker. And he is versatile. In 2014, the Detroit Lions moved him to offensive tackle. But the Pats moved him back to tight end last year. When the Pats were low on depth, however, he did end up seeing some time at right tackle.
Williams might not seem like a huge loss for the Patriots — partly because they can manage without him. But his injury does take away from their depth and run game. At 6-foot-6 280 pounds, he nearly as tall as and heavier than Rob Gronkowski. Now Gronk is an excellent blocker as well. But the more blocking, the better the run game.
Despite popular belief, running backs need blocking to do anything. Get good linemen and anyone looks good.
Yeah. No running back would have done anything on that play.
It appeared as though Williams may have been used in a bigger capacity this season though as he had dropped 20 pounds, as mentioned in a Boston Herald report.
AJ Derby, who spent last season on the IR, has to be happy to see Williams go down as they appeared to be fighting for a roster spot. Now, Derby probably won’t have to worry about that.
Derby started a game at quarterback for Arkansas in 2013, so he could make a convincing case for the fifth string spot with the Pats.