Want to bring a smile to DeAngelo Williams' face? Toss him a vote as FedEx Ground Player of the Year. (PHOTO: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)*
You watched DeAngelo Williams throughout the season. So, since you're likely a Panthers fan, you don't need much convincing to sway you to vote for Williams over fellow finalists Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson.
But if you're not quite aware of his accomplishments, here's four items to consider before casting your ballot.
1. HE SCORED LIKE NO ONE ELSE IN 2008.
Williams' 20 overall touchdowns not only shattered the Panthers' single-season record, but led the league and made him one of only six players active in the 2008 season to have scored at least 20 touchdowns in a single season, joining LaDainian Tomlinson, Randy Moss, Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander and Ahman Green.
The discrepancy on Williams increases when measuring his touchdown tally in light of his total number of touches (receptions plus rushes); he scored once every 14.8 touches, easily outdistancing Turner and Peterson.
2. HE WAS MORE EFFICIENT.
While Peterson and Turner finished with more overall yardage, Williams easily had the better per-carry average, gaining 5.5 yards every time he received a pitchout or handoff. Peterson averaged 4.8 yards per carry, while Turner was a full yard behind Williams with a 4.5-yard pace.
What's more, Williams had a higher percentage of his runs go for first downs than Turner and Peterson, as 24.2 percent of Williams' carries moved the sticks, compared with 22.3 percent for the other two.
3. HE PROTECTED THE FOOTBALL.
Only three runners who averaged more than 15 carries per game did not fumble in 2008 -- Williams, Tomlinson and Pittsburgh's Willie Parker. But Tomlinson and Parker didn't come close to being as successful overall as Williams; the per-carry pace for each was 3.8 yards.
4. HE MADE MORE BIG PLAYS.
No one had more runs of 40 or more yards than Williams, who had five such carries this year. That total was only matched by one other player -- Houston rookie Steve Slaton.