DeAngelo Williams was a record setting running back in college where he holds the NCAA record for most 100-yard rushing games with 34. DeAngelo would finish his career as the fourth all time leading rusher in the NCAA with 6,026 yards. He would measure out at 5’9” 215 pounds, leading many NFL teams to worry about his size and durability, but his 4.4 speed made him the 27th pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2006. In 2006 and 2007, Williams would play a back up role to DeShaun Foster being effective on the ground and through the air compiling 1,218 yards on 265 carries with five rushing touchdowns and adding 56 catches for 488 yards and two touchdowns. 2008 looked to be the season in which DeAngelo would get the lion’s share of the carries but the Panthers would select Jonathan Stewart 13th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Stewart was one of the most sought after high school recruits in the entire nation and choose the University of Oregon over USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and others. Stewart was one of the biggest recruits to ever attend the University of Oregon at the time and would start his college career with a bang leading the nation in kick return average during his freshman season. His junior season he was selected as a first team All Pac-10 performer and would enter the NFL draft. Stewart would become a hot commodity at the NFL draft combine where he posted an impressive size (5’10” 235 pounds) and speed (4.46 forty time) combination. Stewart would be selected by the Panthers with the 13th overall pick in 2008 and join DeAngelo Williams in one of the most dynamic backfields ever.
While this may have been a luxury pick for the Panthers the tandem was extremely effective until DeAngelo was bit by the injury bug in 2010 and defenses could stack the box against the Stewart and the failed experiment that was Jimmy Clausen. The Panthers would finish 2010 with a 2-14 record and be rewarded with the number one pick in the 2011 NFL draft which the Panthers would use to select Cam Newton which would forever change this groups value at the running back position. To make matters worse both running backs were signed to big long term deals that continue to haunt the Panthers to this day. In 2011, Williams signed a five-year contract worth $43 million. Stewart signed a five year 30.65 million dollar contract in August of 2012. To make matters worse the Panthers also added Mike Tolbert on a 4 year deal in 2012 making for one of the most crowded backfields in the league and recurring nightmares for fantasy owners. The Panthers backfield has gone from a highly efficient group to a nightmare in recent season as Cam Newton has also played a giant role in the run game.
By Stagg Party