With Cam Akers gone, Rams are all-in on RB Kyren Williams

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- After he was drafted in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Rams in 2022, Kyren Williams broke his foot during organized team activities, requiring surgery.

Then, after working his way back from that injury and impressing the Rams’ coaching staff during training camp, Williams injured his ankle on his first and only snap of the game. Again, he needed surgery.

It was during that time on the sideline that Williams said he “learned a whole lot” about himself.

“I learned that I could get through anything I put my mind to,” Williams said. “I learned that with hard work and with a great mindset, you can get to where you want to be in life, no matter if it's football or if it's just regular life. You put your mind and your heart towards something that you love and you really want to go after, it'll become possible.”

After a shortened rookie season, where he had 35 carries in 10 games, Williams is now RB1, earning the role after a strong two-touchdown performance in Week 1. And if there was any doubt, there is no more after the Rams traded fourth-year running back Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday.

In two games this season, Williams has four touchdowns -- three rushing and one receiving -- and led coach Sean McVay to make a decision he called in the “best interest” of the team.

On Thursday, McVay called Williams “a complete back,” saying, “He’s got the ability to play on all downs.”

“You just continue to evaluate every single day and you couldn't deny some of the improvements and the things that he was doing that were in alignment with saying, ‘we’ve got to figure out ways to get him involved,'” McVay said.

Behind Williams on the depth chart is Ronnie Rivers, who McVay said he thinks is “capable of being able to supplement [Williams] a little bit more.”

Running back Royce Freeman, who is on the practice squad but was elevated in Week 2, and rookie sixth-round pick Zach Evans round out the running back group, one McVay said he feels “good about.” McVay said Evans is “doing a good job,” but because of Freeman’s experience on special teams, he got the nod against San Francisco.

Through two weeks, the Rams’ rushing offense ranks 12th in DVOA, thanks in large part to how efficient Williams and the Rams’ offense has been to start the season.

And although Williams has won the job to be the Rams’ starting running back, he said the work he put in “doesn’t stop now.”

“The work is still going to be there,” Williams said. “ ... But I feel blessed. I feel as if I did put in the work to get to where I'm at now and this position of being the starting running back of the Los Angeles Rams. So I feel like I did what I had to do to earn the trust of this organization and of Coach McVay.”