The Cardinals drafted Ryan Williams out of Virginia Tech two Aprils ago with the idea of injecting power and explosion into their running game. They graded Williams as a top-15 overall player in the draft, and couldn’t pass when he was available at No. 38.
Williams tore his right patellar tendon and meniscus in an August 19 preseason game, and missed his entire rookie year. Williams later revealed his “kneecap was in my thigh” immediately following the injury.
The silver lining, we suppose, is that the injury occurred so early last season. Williams will be over a full year removed by the time this season starts, and as of June his recovery appears on the right track.
On Wednesday night, Williams participated in 11-on-11s for the first time this offseason. The practice involved no contact, but he made cuts on the knee and ran full speed.
“I haven’t run that fast since I got hurt,” Williams told Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com after the workout. “They sprinkled me in there. My first carry, I was like ‘Wow, I’m almost back. I’m almost back.’”
Added coach Ken Whisenhunt, “He looked good. You forget his quickness, his vision. There is always a little trepidation on your first action like that. It was good to get it out of the way. Now, it’s out of his head.”
Williams is a special talent whose return to full effectiveness alongside Beanie Wells could quietly make Arizona one of the league’s tougher teams to defend on the ground.