Cardinals release 2011 second-round pick RB Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams, a second-round pick in 2011, was active for five games for the Cardinals in three seasons and rushed for 164 yards.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. — Running back Ryan Williams, a second-round pick out of Virginia Tech in 2011, was among four players released by the Cardinals on Monday.

Williams showed tremendous promise in training camp as a rookie until suffering a ruptured patellar tendon that caused him to miss the entire season.

He returned in 2012 but did not show the same explosiveness, and his second season was then cut short after five games when he fractured his shoulder.

With a new coaching staff on board in 2013, Williams found himself buried on the depth chart and was never activated for a game, even though he attended Virginia Tech, coach Bruce Arians’ alma mater. He finished his Cardinals career with 164 yards on 58 carries.

More Cardinals

With the retirement of Rashard Mendenhall, the Cardinals are left with three experienced backs on the roster: Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer. They also have just three remaining players from the 2011 draft: cornerback Patrick Peterson (first round), tight end Rob Housler (third round) and outside linebacker Sam Acho (fourth round).

The Cardinals also cut center John Estes, linebacker Kenny Rowe and tight end Brett Brackett on Monday.

After the news of his release, Williams tweeted his thanks: