Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


Shanahan’s hand-picked 2017 draft pick part of early roster cuts

Aug 31, 2018 at 5:38 PM0



One of the most notable draft picks from 2017, running back Joe Williams, was cut by the team today in just his second season with the 49ers. Williams spent all of 2017 on IR due to an "ankle injury" and was projected to make a run at a roster spot early in the off-season.

The selection of Williams in last years' draft was put into the spotlight due to several reasons. Peter King, a prominent writer for Sports Illustrated at the time, documented his take on the 49ers' draft as a guest from inside the teams' draft war room. One of the main stories that King chronicled was the selection of Joe Williams.

What came out of the story was how enamored Kyle Shanahan was with Williams. It was perceived that Williams was the one guy who Coach Shanahan wanted on Day 3 of the draft. However, there was a catch to this story.

Williams had previously quit his University of Utah team in the 2016 season, due to what could be described as "personal reasons". Williams lost his sister ten years prior to, and he expressed that he never really was able to get over that traumatic event.

49ers' General Manager, John Lynch, felt that it was necessary to do his due diligence before approving the selection of Williams. Lynch publicly stated that he previously had Williams off the draft board due to him quitting his team. After speaking with Williams, Lynch felt comfortable with giving Shanahan the thumbs up to move forward with the selection.

But this was Shanahan's decision. Williams was the guy he could mold into becoming the next great running back who would excel in his offensive system. Or at the very least, the next Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman, who became quality NFL running backs while Shanahan was the Offensive Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.

Shanahan went "all-in" on his conviction for Williams and traded up from the bottom of the fourth-round to 121 overall in order to make the selection. Shanahan was willing to part with the 49ers' lower fourth-round pick along with a 2017 fifth-round pick in order to move up.

What Shanahan saw on Williams' film while at Utah convinced him, it could've convinced nearly anyone. On film, Williams looked big, fast, and explosive. All one needed to do was watch his game against UCLA to see the type of ability he had.

Williams ran for 332 yards for an average of 11.2 yards per carry in that game, to go along with 4 touchdowns. His 332 yards were a school record, shattering the previous total by nearly 80 yards. More than one of his touchdowns were "home-runs", not some goal line carry that any plodding running back could score. He was a weapon, and that was clear to anyone who knew anything about the game of football.

With all that talent and ability, what Shanahan may have underestimated is Williams' non-physical attributes. The real question was not Williams' physical ability, but did he have enough mental toughness to succeed in the NFL.

To this point in his NFL career, it seems like this may be the one thing holding him back. Williams looked tentative during preseason games before getting injured against the Houston Texans. He was not using his explosive capabilities to hit open holes when there were some. He committed mental mistakes, including bad drops and fumbles (last year) that just cannot occur in the NFL. His bobble that led to an interception against the Texans was a perfect example of that.

But is this the end for Williams? There is still a possibility that he lands on either the 49ers' practice squad to further develop or he could end up with another team. The hope either way is that Williams can one day overcome whatever obstacles he may be facing. His story is powerful, his ability has not left him, and maybe one day those abilities will be unleashed on the field again. Shanahan might still be wishing that this can happen with Williams wearing a 49ers' uniform.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



K'Waun Williams explains why he picked the 49ers over Jets, Chiefs in free agency

By David Bonilla
Mar 30, 2021

K'Waun Williams had choices in free agency. The New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs were interested. Ultimately, the cornerback opted to stay with the familiar, which meant re-signing with the San Francisco 49ers. "All the (offered) deals were pretty similar, at the time," Williams told reporters on Tuesday. "I just chose the Niners. I couldn't deny playing with some of my teammates, you know what I mean? In our secondary, we've got Jimmie (Ward), Jaquiski (Tartt), we've got Jason (Verrett), all those guys. Just being able to play one more year with those guys was just too intriguing to me." Williams visited with the Chiefs before re-signing with San Francisco. Understandably, he didn't want to discuss the Lombardi Trophy from Super Bowl LIV that was



Rapoport: Kyle Shanahan says 49ers are 'definitely considering' Mac Jones but isn't tipping hand

By David Bonilla
Apr 9, 2021

First off, let's make it clear that it would be irresponsible for the San Francisco 49ers to deny anything when it comes to guesswork surrounding their 2021 NFL Draft intentions. Yes, they own the No. 3 overall pick, but that doesn't mean they want everyone to know what they plan to do. Everyone expects quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson to go one and two in the draft ... but it's the NFL Draft. Nothing is a certainty. A national narrative has been created that indicates the favorite to land with San Francisco is former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Maybe that will be the case. Maybe not. The team could also select Justin Fields of Ohio State or Trey Lance of North Dakota State. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch are expected to



Neither Lynch nor Shanahan asked Nick Saban about Mac Jones, potential 49ers draft pick, at pro day

By David Bonilla
Apr 6, 2021

File this under interesting pre-draft tidbits. San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were in attendance for Alabama's pro day last week. That made headlines because the duo opted to watch quarterback Mac Jones rather than attend Ohio State's pro day to watch Justin Fields. Paired with Chris Simms' speculation that San Francisco might have traded up to the No. 3 spot for Jones, that spurred others to seriously consider a Jones-to-49ers scenario. Alabama head coach Nick Saban recently joined the Dan Patrick Show and shared that neither Lynch nor Shanahan asked him anything about his former quarterback, who helped guide the Crimson Tide to a national championship. And it wasn't because they didn't have an opportunity to do



Here's what 3 sources told Dan Patrick about the 49ers and the No. 3 draft pick

By David Bonilla
Apr 1, 2021

Dan Patrick shared some insight into what the San Francisco 49ers are planning to do with the No. 3 overall pick after trading some hefty draft capital last week to move into that spot. Many analysts are projecting Alabama quarterback Mac Jones to be the pick, but others feel he could have been had with a later selection. Would Jones have made it all the way down to No. 12, the 49ers' original spot? Maybe not. But selecting him at No. 3 is viewed by many as a massive reach. With Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Zach Wilson of BYU expected to be off the board by the 49ers' selection, both Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance of North Dakota State are widely seen as passers with higher ceilings compared to Jones. So, what is Patrick hearing? "Yeah,


Featured

More by Chaz Inouye

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone