FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots waited nearly a month to add running back depth after Dion Lewis was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. Perhaps their patience will pay off with Trey Williams.
The Patriots claimed Williams off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound running back appears to have a similar skill set to Lewis, who served as the Patriots’ starting and pass-catching back.
“He was a productive player last year at Texas A&M — well, actually two years ago was actually a more productive year for him,” Belichick said Wednesday about Williams. “Last year, in the ’14 season, his role changed a little bit. Their offense changed a little bit with the new quarterback and so forth, but he was still productive, can catch the ball out of the backfield, return kicks and obviously can run the ball, as well.
“He has some versatility as a running back, as a receiver and as a returner. We’ll see how all of that goes. He’s a young player, hasn’t really played, but it’s not a position that we have a lot of depth in right now, so he was available, so we claimed him.”
Williams had 1,167 all-purpose yards in 2013 with 407 rushing yards, 54 as a receiver and 706 as a kick returner. He had 81 carries for 560 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014 as a junior, and added 16 receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown and 17 kick returns for 421 yards.
The Patriots had just James White, Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount at running back before bringing in Williams. The rushing attack has struggled since Lewis went down with the season-ending injury.
Williams’ size and pass-catching ability suggests he could serve as a third-down back for the Patriots.
“Yeah, possibly,” Belichick said. “Yeah. I mean, we haven’t had the guy, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Williams spent four weeks on the Cowboys’ active roster after being signed off the Washington Redskins’ practice squad Nov. 4. He was inactive in all four games the Cowboys played during his time with the team.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Sep 6, 2014; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Trey Williams (3) scores a touchdown during the first quarter against the Lamar Cardinals at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports