Poor Kyle Williams. He’s had some insanely bad luck very recently. Two years ago, he was an unknown player that no one really knew about. Now he is a household name in the homes of San Francisco 49er fans, but for all the wrong reasons.
Williams had a decent year for a second year, sixth round draft pick in 2011. He caught 20 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t set the world on fire, but it’s a lot more than he was probably expected to do. He showed he had the potential to be a decent slot receiver that had good hands and good speed. Where did that go?
First let’s take a look at Williams’ duty as the return man.
There is no need to bring up Williams’ mishaps in the 2011 playoffs. That doesn’t affect the 49ers now in 2013. What does affect them however, is his inability to do anything productive on the field. Williams has been used a lot as a return for the last year and a half. When players like Ted Ginn Jr and Kendall Hunter struggled during kick and punt returns, he showed some spark. But now, he seems to be making mistakes every time he touches that ball. He was doing so badly as a returner two weeks ago against Jacksonville that they put big Anthony Dixon back as a returner.
Williams is leading the league in fair catches with 20. Niner fans get frustrated every time they see Williams’ hand go up on a punt return. Even when it seems he has at least 10 yards of space, he is too scared to run. No one really knows if it’s his confidence or ability that is holding him back, but either way, he is not helping the 49ers.
Well now let’s look at his receiving stats. Surely they’re decent enough to forgive his nonexistent return production, right? Well in eight games, Williams has 11 catches for 108 yards. He is 87th out of 88 with 0.61 yards per route. That is unacceptable for a WR-hungry team.
Michael Crabtree has just started practicing this week and the 49ers have 21 days to activate him. They are going to need a roster spot for him and the other players coming off of injury, so Williams might find himself watching football from his couch just like the rest of us.
Right now it makes sense why he is still on the team. He knows the system, and they need to line up someone on the outside to at least pretend they might throw it to them. But now that the 49ers are beginning to get healthy, Williams’ days as a 49er
might should be numbered.
With his ability to muff punts and kick offs, call for fair catches, not get open, and fumble when he does get open, Williams’ future looks bleak. AJ Jenkins found himself traded and Marlon Moore ended up cut both for the same reasons. Unfortunately for Williams, he’s not a former first round pick and he has no original team to go back to. We’ve seen what he is capable of, and not many teams are jumping at the chance of getting Kyle Williams on their team.
Williams better step it up with the chances he’s got left, because he very well may be auditioning for other teams. Maybe if he does well enough, he’ll survive for the rest of the year. But we’ve all watched him this year and we all know what is coming soon.