The 2023 NFL offseason is in full swing, and with that, training camps edge ever closer to starting. We have seen a new wave of players enter the team both via the draft and free agency, but there is also a large group of returning players from last season as well. This has led to some debates to be had regarding which players will have the largest impact on the roster for the 2023 season.
Each day we will be counting down the 25 most important Saints for the 2023 season. This will be split up into the following categories:
- Recap of their 2022 season
- Projecting their 2023 success
- What is the biggest question mark for them in 2023?
The 13th-ranked player by the Saints Wire staff is running back Jamaal Williams:
Of all the Saints that Williams could have been teammates with in college, you’re probably not picturing Taysom Hill at BYU. Williams is one of the best running backs in BYU history. He holds the school record for career rushing yards with 3,901.
He was a fourth round selection of the Green Bay Packers and joined the Detroit Lions in 2021. He signed to the Saints this offseason.
Williams is coming off of a historic 2022 season for the Lions where he broke Barry Sanders’ single season rushing touchdown record, finding the end zone 17 times. He was a red zone and goal line monster. A crazy 15 touchdowns were scored in goal-to-go situations.
His success wasn’t all just on the goal line, as he is also coming off of his first 1,000 yard rushing season. He finished with 1,066 rushing yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
With the looming suspension of Alvin Kamara, Williams will likely be the lead back for a stretch of the Saints season.
He was productive in many ways last season and specifically in ways that the Saints were bad. The redzone offense left a lot to be desired, which is probably why Williams was a top target this offseason.
Biggest question: Was 2022 a flash in the pan or can Williams continue his production?
While the numbers jump off the screen for last season compared to the rest of his career, a closer look will reveal that the biggest change was his work load.
He averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a larger number than Kamara in the last two seasons, but that isn’t an outlier number. His career high was 4.3 and career low is 3.6 as a rookie. He’s been fairly consistent in that area around his career.
If he wants to take his game to the next level, it will be by becoming a serious receiving threat as well. He had 39 catches in his third season, but has only reached the 30s twice.