Andre Williams (44) runs around the end during the first quarter. Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Browns interested in Andre Williams

Boston College Eagles running back prospect Andre Williams was the most productive rusher in college football last season with over 2,100 rushing yards on a nation-leading 355 carries, but there are plenty who remain skeptical of Williams’s ability to be a feature back in the NFL. He’s one of the better running back prospects in the class, but he clearly isn’t regarded as a top five talent at the position despite winning the Doak Walker. Williams is criticized heavily for his lack of an impact in the passing game, but he had a faster forty time and better vertical jump at the combine than expected. He’s a tough, hard-nosed rusher who would be a solid addition to a team’s backfield as a change-of-pace option.

Per league sources close to the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson, Williams has received interest from the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. All of these AFC East and AFC North teams have some level of interest in adding a running back, as the Steelers aren’t satisfied with the talented duo of Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. They want to add another talented RB to the mix with a mid-round pick in the draft, and the speedy Lache Seastrunk appears to be on their wishlist as well.

The Jets did well to sign Chris Johnson as the explosive, high-upside half of a one-two punch with Chris Ivory, who is a legitimate feature back when healthy. Mike Goodson will likely be out as the change-of-pace back and the Jets should look to replace him with a better pass-catcher than Williams, but I could see them drafting the BC RB if they like him enough.

Although the Browns are expected to go for a better running back to form a 1-2 punch with the talented-but-unproven-as-a-feature-back Ben Tate, Williams is in play for them. The New England Patriots might make the most sense as a landing spot, though, because they could very well use a hard-nosed rusher after Blount left and would probably like to add a productive back with some local ties later on in the draft.

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Tags: Andre Williams Boston College Eagles Cleveland Browns Football New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Draft Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Gary

    Hyde of Ohio State was a better running back.

    • Joe Soriano

      I don’t mean to sound rude when I say this, but…yeah, Hyde is obviously better. He’s the top prospect at RB, whereas Williams is a projected late day two or day three pick. Williams did, however, have the most rushing yards in college football last season, so you at least have to give him that. This is what I meant when I said “most productive”. He wasn’t the “best” (because rushing yards aren’t everything), but he produced the most. College production barely means anything in draft season, so, yes, that’s why he isn’t as touted due to concerns over his tools in comparison to backs like Hyde and ability to contribute on passing downs.

      • Gary

        Stats wise, you are correct. But, I prefer the over all talent of Hyde.
        But, I doubt the Browns will pick either player in the draft. They just don’t have a very good record of making the right decisions. So, I won’t get my hopes up either way