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Sophomore Spotlight: Karlos Williams

Karlos Williams was one of the biggest steals of the 2015 NFL draft.

The Buffalo Bills had six picks in the 2015 NFL draft. One year after being selected, it’s time to look back on their careers before joining the Bills, their rookie seasons, and what’s in store for them in year two.

With the 155th overall pick in the 2015 draft, the Bills added running back Karlos Williams. At the time, Buffalo had LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson penciled in as their top two backs, but Williams seemed like a solid value pick in Round 5. Williams was the only running back to make a pre-draft visit to the Bills.

Before the Bills

Williams played safety in his first two seasons at Florida State. He had eight tackles in his first season with the Seminoles. In his sophomore season, Williams had 31 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and one interception. In his junior season, Williams was moved to running back and he had a breakout season averaging eight yards per carry.



























Williams also contributed as a receiver at Florida State. In his two seasons on offense, Williams caught 37 passes for 328 yards and one touchdown.

What the Analysts Said

Williams' physical run style fits exactly what Greg Roman wants in his power run scheme. He's a downhill one-cut runner who can break tackles at the second level.

Mark Dulgerian, NFL.com

Williams is a big, talented athlete who is still finding his way as a running back. He seemed almost content to lose his job in 2014 and teams will be turning over every rock looking for information on his character. As a one-cut runner with exceptional burst and rare physical traits, Williams could become a very good starter in a zone-based scheme, but his floor is very low based on character and scheme fit.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

High ceiling, low floor, and character concerns. That is Karlos Williams in a nutshell. Teams will have to determine whether he will regain his explosiveness if he loses the requisite weight and whether they trust him not to have domestic problems that embarrass the organization. I’m not sure I would have Williams on my draft board at all, but there’s no doubt that he will be a tempting risk-reward player in the middle rounds for someone.

Jason Staples, Scout.com

This pick didn't make a lot of sense. Running back is a deep position for the Bills, even if Ryan ends up cutting Bryce Brown, who he doesn't seem enamored with. With LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, and Boobie Dixon on the roster, adding even more depth to a position where you rarely would have more than three active on game day was perplexing. Williams did have a knack for finding the end zone (22 touchdowns in two years), and he could contribute to special teams.

The Sports Xchange

2015 Season

When the season started, Williams found himself as Buffalo’s No. 2 running back behind McCoy.

Karlos Williams’ first carry in the regular season went 26 yards for a touchdown. On an interesting note, Williams’ first carry at Florida State also went for a touchdown.

Williams looked explosive on the field for the Bills and complemented McCoy well. In the first four games of the season, Williams accounted for four total touchdowns and he went over 100 yards rushing in his third career game against the Dolphins (12-110-1).

The running back would miss the next three games with a concussion and return after Buffalo’s bye week. Against the Dolphins, Williams once again rushed for 110 yards. This time, Williams did it on only nine carries and two of the touches went for touchdowns. He’d score a touchdown the next week against the Jets and tie an NFL record for most consecutive games with a touchdown to start an NFL career.

Williams would miss two games with a shoulder injury, but return for Buffalo’s final three games.

At the end of the season, Williams rushed for 517 yards and seven touchdowns on 93 carries (5.6 YPC). He added another 96 yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions. The rookie running back was one of the biggest steals in the 2015 NFL draft.

2016 Outlook

McCoy will be Buffalo’s workhorse back in 2016, but Buffalo will find a way to increase Williams’ role in his second season. The duo should handle the bulk of Buffalo’s carries in 2016.

In his second season, it’ll be important for Williams to show that he can stay healthy. It’s very possible that Williams is the heir apparent to McCoy as Buffalo’s No. 1 back, but his ability to stay on the field will play a big role in his future with the team.

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