During every pre-season, one player puts together a convincing case to make the 53 man roster based on his performances in August. Normally, coaching staffs aren't swayed too much by the performances of one player against second and third-string defenses, but alas, someone has to carry the mantle.
This year, the front-runner appears to be Keiland Williams, who ran for 51 yards and two touchdowns Friday night against Buffalo. He's a long shot to make the roster, considering he plays where the Redskins are arguably the deepest, position-wise. Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson are all but assured spots on the roster and he still has to fight with Ryan Torain, Willie Parker and possibly Brian Westbrook for however many roster spots are left. At least he appears to have Mike Shanahan's respect, according to Jason Reid:
"Keiland's been very impressive. He's a guy that does a great job in pass protection, especially for a young guy. He's got some great running skills. He catches the ball. He's got a big upside, and we'll get a chance to see what he can do in live situations. But I like the way he's handled himself thus far."
Here's what else you need to know about Keiland Williams.
He knows how to play in a platoon: Williams has had to share the backfield with some accomplished runners during his time at LSU. Since he was a freshman, he's had to split carries with Jacob Hester, Quinn Jackson and Trindon Holliday, so Williams won't have any issues sharing the rock with Portis and Johnson. More importantly, he knows he's experienced at being called into action on short notice, which will undoubtedly help out if he makes the squad.
LSU has produced some good running backs over the years: In addition to the trio I just mentioned the Tigers have also sent Joseph Addai, Domanic Williams (whom you probably remember by his former name, Domanick Davis), LaBrandon Toefield and Kevin Faulk. That's some good company to keep.
He has good high school roots as well: Williams went to Hargrave Military Academy, where several NFL and NBA players have made their marks on the high school level. Here's some of the notable athletes to come from Hargrave:
- Torry Holt
- Charles Grant
- D.J. Ware
- Josh Howard
- Marreese Speights
- Sam Young
- Also, former NASCAR driver Ward Burton. Sadly, I don't think Keiland will ever be as entertaining or quotable as Ward.