The Carolina Panthers season has derailed more spectacularly than the train in Super 8.
With the NFL trade deadline approaching, rumors are swirling that Carolina Panthers' running back DeAngelo Williams is now a trade target.
Jonathan Stewart is expected to take the lead back role in Carolina, making Williams a potentially attractive for contenders who are shallow at running back.
Williams could be a game-changer for contenders struggling with the run.
Since entering the league in 2006 Williams has averaged 5.0 yards per carry, including a stellar 5.4 YPC last season. If Williams did not split carries with Jonathan Stewart he would likely be among the league's leading rushers each year.
Here is my analysis of the five teams that could make a Super Bowl run by adding DeAngelo Williams.
1. Green Bay Packers
The Packers signed a washed-up Cedric Benson in the offseason to lead the team's weak rushing attack. Benson proved to be ineffective, averaging just 3.5 YPC and scoring one touchdown in five games before getting injured.
In Benson's absence the Packers have featured Alex Green who has gained just 2.9 YPC this year. He is clearly not the answer.
Even with a healthy Cedric Benson, the Packers lack of a running game is the team's biggest weakness.
The absent running game in Green Bay is amplified with injuries to Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley hampering the passing game.
No team would benefit more from adding DeAngelo Williams than the Green Bay Packers.
2. Atlanta Falcons
A healthy Michael Turner consistently churns out 1,300-yard seasons, but he has no explosiveness.
Over the last three seasons he has averaged a ho-hum 4.2 YPC, including a career-low 3.8 YPC this year.
Turner and Williams would be a solid one-two punch in the backfield to compliment the league's most fearsome passing game featuring Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. Turner could continue to convert third-and-short situations while DeAngelo would be a perfect fit for second or third and long situations.
While a move within the NFC South is unlikely, Williams would make a perfect tandem with Michael Turner as the undefeated Falcons push for the Super Bowl.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall is a capable back but he cannot stay healthy.
In Mendenhall's absence the Steelers have nearly split carries between Jonathan Dwyer (58 attempts) and Isaac Redman (50 attempts.)
Redman is averaging a paltry 2.5 YPC this year.
Dwyer has been solid, averaging 5.2 YPC this year, but he is not a feature back. The Steelers drafted Dwyer in 2010 and gave him a total of just 25 carries in his first two seasons coming into this year.
With Mendenhall's health making him unreliable, the Steelers would be wise to combine DeAngelo Williams with Jonathan Dwyer in the backfield as they compete in a wide-open division.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Panthers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Carolina Panthers
- Green Bay Packers
- Cedric Benson
- Jonathan Stewart
- The Packers
- Michael Turner