Few have as much to gain from a new team in 2011 than DeAngelo Williams. With a rare combination of size, speed and vision, Williams is arguably one of the best backs in the league. Running back is one the most dependent positions on one's supporting cast, however, and the Panthers' surrounding offensive talent may have been the worst in the league in 2010.
Williams played in just six games last season due to a foot sprain. In those six games he averaged just 4.1 yards per carry, matching his career-worst rookie season and falling well short of his career 5.0 average.
The bad news for Williams, as well as anybody thinking about taking Williams with a top pick in their fantasy drafts this year, is that the Panthers will be pushing hard to re-sign him. Considering they have to break in another rookie quarterback this year in Cam Newton, one has to imagine that a strong running game is a top priority. New collective bargaining restrictions may hold them back, however, and in a choice between Williams and Jonathan Stewart, the front office may be more inclined to go after the back who only missed two games last season.
If not Carolina, there are few suitors that are truly in a desperate need of a running back, or at least, in big enough need to pay top dollar for Williams. The Broncos have been rumored as a major player in his courtship, in no small part due to Williams' former head coach, John Fox, now leading the team. Denver has already invested a lot in its stable of running backs, however, and could still be feeling the burn from the Laurence Maroney trade.