Virginia Tech Sophomore
40: 4.61, 4.40e
Has very sudden burst and speed. Is an excellent cutback runner because of his lateral burst. Has a good jump cut and does a good job bouncing plays outside for the big gain. Runs with nice balance and does a good job making defenders miss in space. Shows nice hands, able to adjust to some throws into the flat. Capable option on screen passes. Not afraid to lower the shoulder and deliver blow to the defender. Keeps his feet moving after contact to fight for extra yards. Shows some potential to square up blitzers in pass protection.
Dances too much in the backfield at times looking for daylight. Has a tendency to try and bounce everything outside, rather than taking what is given to him. Is not nearly as effective running between the tackles. Doesn't play with great pad level there. Doesn't break a lot of tackles or consistently show the ability to keep his feet moving upon contact. Durability is a concern, as he has a tendency to limp off the field when he takes a good shot. Will body catch sometimes in the flat. Doesn't always secure the ball against his body when he's running in space. Needs some more work in pass protection.
Williams burst onto the scene last season with a big year as a freshman with 1655 yards on 293 carries (5.6 avg) and 21 touchdowns, replacing an injured Darren Evans. He had his own share of injuries this past year, and only wound up with 477 yards on 110 carries (4.3 avg) and 9 scores. He combined for 26 receptions and 2 touchdowns in both years. He only managed to start 5 out of 10 games as a sophomore. Part of his reduced workload was due to the return of Evans, as well as the Hokies trying to get freshman David Wilson some looks, but he missed 4 games during the middle of the year due to a torn hamstring. He'll only be 21 when the season begins. Measured in at the Combine at 212 pounds, up 7 pounds from his listed weight of 205.
Durability is my main concern with Williams in how he projects to the next level. He's a skillful explosive runner that has big play potential. But if he cannot stay on the field, then I'm not sure he'll be able to showcase it. There have been times where I've seen him take a good shot from a defender and walk off the field needing time to recover, which reminds me a lot of what Jerious Norwood has shown us over the years. I don't know if Williams will be as fragile as Norwood, but they have a similar frame, and it's certainly not conducive to taking a lot of shots. The best way to handle Williams is probably to split carries with another, more physical back. In that way, I would probably project him to be a capable runner on par with someone like DeAngelo Williams. DeAngelo Williams is the more explosive of the pair in Carolina, and also has had issues with durability and staying healthy in recent years. He has the potential that if he can add strength to his frame, he could be a guy that can carry the ball 20-25 times per game. But I'm not convinced he would hold up for 16 games with that sort of workload, particularly early in his career. Instead, he's more of a guy that you start off with 8-15 touches per game and work your way up from there. If Williams can get stronger and do a better job running between the tackles, he has a chance to develop into a feature back down the road. The player I would compare him to potentially is someone like Frank Gore, who also has had his fair share of injuries. But WIlliams probably needs to add another 5-10 pounds of muscle before that becomes a reality. At the very least, he should be a good No. 2 runner and change of pace that can be a factor on third downs. I think he can be a guy that can be a solid No. 1 guy, I just think a team that tries to build their running game around him may wind up disappointed because he doesn't have the durability to be able to maintain that beyond a few seasons. The ideal scheme for getting the most out of Williams is a zone-blocking one.
Williams would be a very good No. 2 runner and change of pace runner behind Turner. He could be a guy that can spell Turner for 5-10 touches per game and give the Falcons an explosive element to their ground attack. While he does share similar concerns with durability as Norwood, Williams is a more consistent runner that has better vision and lateral burst. It allows him to create something out of nothing between than Norwood who is purely a straight-line guy. As time wears on, Williams can get a bigger workload. But more than likely he'll just be a No. 2 here in Atlanta, and would need someone like Snelling or another running back to spell him to keep him fresh. But to be a lead back in the Mularkey offense, he'll have to get bigger and stronger. Bulking up to around 215 should help him there.
Williams has first round potential, but because of durability concerns and the fact that he may only be a part-time player, he's a better value in the early part of the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.