49ers: Why RB Joe Williams’ Roster Spot may be in Jeopardy

With the 121st pick in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft, San Francisco 49ers and General Manager John Lynch selected Joe Williams, 5’11, 210 pounds, RB, Utah. Oh, how long ago, that was.


The San Francisco 49ers recently added some much-needed arsenal to their offense and backfield with the signing of former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon. Recently, Niners Live broke down why McKinnon fits 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Now we’ll tell you why his presence may contribute to Williams’ roster spot being in Jeopardy.

How we got here

Williams was considered the heir apparent and replacement to former 49ers’ running back Carlos Hyde. However, that thought never materialized because Williams spent his entire 2017 season on injured reserve. But prior to being placed on injured reserve, Williams showed up to camp out of shape and allowed an undrafted rookie by the name of Matt Brieda to jump him in the running back competition and pecking order.

Important to note: Williams is on track to fully recover from his ankle injury from last season. 

Just when Williams thought it was safe to make a run at the starting running back position, the 49ers went out and invested 30 million into a running back he was compared to coming out of college. And Williams wasn’t happy about it either, as he took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the acquisition of running back, McKinnon.

  • How will Williams respond?
  • Can Williams step up to the challenge?
  • Can Williams even beat out Breida?

Why RB Joe Williams’ roster spot may be in Jeopardy

Not only has McKinnon been anointed as the starting running back by Shanahan who may have lost his one-time love affair with Williams. The 49ers are deep and crowed at the running back position, enter; Brieda, McKinnon, Jeremy McNichols, and Raheem Mostert into the mix. With the 2018 NFL draft soon to be upon us, the 49ers will surely look to add a bigger back, or maybe via the backend of free agency, to increase competition and improve the roster. That means someone’s got to go. Could it be Williams?

To be continued…

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, player break down specialist, Co-Editor, Sequoia Sims