4 realistic pivot options for Detroit Lions if Jamaal Williams leaves in free agency
3. Damien Harris
Harris had an injury-hampered 2022 campaign with the New England Patriots, missing a total of six games and getting double-digit carries in just four of the 11 he did play in. He is all but certain to be elsewhere next season after being fully usurped by Rhamondre Stevenson.
Touchdowns can be fluky, and unsustainable year-to-year (see Williams after last season). But Harris found paydirt 15 times in 2021, while also rushing for 929 yards in 15 games. In 2020, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 137 carries.
Harris has simply not been used much as a pass catcher this far in his career, with 40 career receptions. But given how the Patriots generally like to deploy their running backs, in a committee with pretty specific and defined roles, it’s hard to know if there’s untapped potential there. Even back to his college days at Alabama, in a loaded backfield, it’s hard to know what all he’s capable of as a more all-around back.
All in all, if Williams leaves, Harris is an absolutely realistic pivot option for the Lions. And it may only need to be a one-year flier to see what he can do with a change of scenery.