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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU

NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU

Jamaal Williams -- BYU Cougars

Position: Running Back
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 213
Year: Senior
Hometown: Fontana, CA
Experience: Sr. - 4 year starter

Measurables:

40yd dash: 4.59
Broad jump: 123”
Vertical: 30”
3-cone: 7.25
20yd. Shuttle: 4.53
Bench Press: DNP

Career Notes:

After leading Summit High School to a Division Championship and earning League Offensive MVP, Williams was highly recruited by several major schools. In 2012, Williams chose to go to BYU over notable programs like UCLA, Oregon, and Boise State. As a true freshman in 2012, Williams made his debut as a starter midway through the season, rushing for 775 yards and 12 touchdowns with a 4.67 rushing average.

Williams then took the reigns as the team’s featured back in 2013, rushing for 1233 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 5.68 yards per carry as a sophomore. Emerging as one of the nation’s leading rushers, Williams put himself on the map as a legitimate NFL prospect.

Unfortunately, Williams junior year was less than ideal. After a slow start to the season, where he only rushed for 515 yards and four touchdowns, the California native tore his ACL against UNLV and missed the last three games of the season. After redshirting and sitting out the entire 2015 season to rest his knee, Williams returned for his senior year in 2016.

Williams re-emerged as a highly-touted pro prospect last fall as a senior. He was the nation’s leading rusher for the first six weeks of the season before injuring his ankle and missing three games. Williams did return to the field in November and capped off his season with 1375 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns, and a 5.88 rushing average. In 2016, the former BYU standout earned All-League First Team honors and CIF Offensive MVP, while helping pave the way for a BYU bowl win.

Injury Report:

Williams has suffered several significant injuries that should be noted. First, he missed one start against Middle Tennessee State in 2013 as a sophomore after he was hospitalized for suffering a stinger the week prior against Utah. Williams also missed the last three games of the 2014 season after he tore his ACL against UNLV.

While Williams recovered from his ACL injury and was ready to return to the field in 2015, he was suspended for the season opener for violating the team rule of underrage drinking. Even though he’s not a member of the LDS Church, he broke the school honor code for drinking alcohol.Williams decided to sit out the 2015 season for personal reasons and take a redshirt year with the intent of returning in 2016. Reportedly, he wanted to give his knee one more season of rest before returning to the game.

In 2016, Williams returned to form and re-established himself as the focal point of BYU’s offense. However, Williams missed three games in the middle of the season with an ankle injury.

 

Career Stats(click here):

 

Analysis:

Speed/Quickness: 3.0/5.0

Williams is an adequate athlete, but he won’t wow anyone with his testing numbers. He has average breakaway speed, which does hurt his overall draft stock. He can get caught from behind by defenders when running downfield. However, ironically enough Williams made a lot of big plays at BYU. While he lacks top-end speed, he does possess really good short-area burst and acceleration. This enables him find his opening and burst through the hole, quickly getting to the second level of the defense. Williams also features a really effective cutback, enabling him to quickly change direction and get the defense on their heels. He has enough burst to round the corner and beat defenders to the sidelines, while also getting some separation once he breaks through the second level. Williams even has some wiggle in the open field to make defenders miss and is an overall smooth athlete in space. While he’s not the fastest halfback, he does possess enough burst and athleticism to be effective at the next level.

Vision: 5.0/5.0

The strength of Williams’ game is his physical downhill running style and excellent backfield vision. Outside of Christian McCaffrey, there may not be another back in this class with as good of vision as Williams. He shows excellent patience behind the line of scrimmage and then is very decisive in hitting the hole. He also does a great job at seeing cutback lanes or knowing when to bounce a run to the outside for a big gain. He keeps his head on a swivel and has a natural knack for finding openings in the defense to exploit. This is what makes him such a dangerous runner.

Power:  4.0/5.0  

While Williams isn’t the biggest back, he really packs a punch at the contact point. He will lower his shoulder and punish defenders for taking him head on. He also has incredibly powerful legs, and does a great job keeping his legs driving through contact. He can move piles. He’s a back that is constantly falling forward and gaining an extra yard or two despite being wrapped up. He will even drag defenders to get past the first down marker, showing incredible determination and tenacity in his running. He’s a fiery guy on offense and seems to really embrace the physical side of the game. Overall, he’s a powerful downhill runner with a strong lower body that enables him to run through arm tackles and gain yards after contact. He also has one of the strongest stiff arms in the class, which helps him break plenty of tackles out in space.

Pass Receiving:  3.0/5.0

While receiving isn’t the strength of his game, Williams is a better pass catcher than people give him credit for. In his first two seasons at BYU, he recorded 45 receptions and factored in more in the passing game. However, later in his collegiate career he stayed home more to pass protect on third downs. At the Senior Bowl, he did show consistent hands and route running, proving that he still has the ability to be effective in the passing game.

Ball Security:  4.5/5.0

Williams rarely coughs up the ball. In 3.5 seasons as a starter at BYU, he recorded 727 carries and only fumbled four times. He does a nice job wrapping up the ball when bracing for contact, and he rarely allows a defender to punch the ball loose. Williams shows good awareness to know when to wrap up and secure the rock with two hands.

Impact Play Ability:  4.5/5.0

Williams has all of the tools to be a legitimate three-down running back in the NFL. He is a great balance between power, burst, and vision. He’s also a guy that can carry the ball 20 times a game and can be a focal point of an offense. And despite lacking top-end speed, he can be a home run hitter at the position. His collegiate career is full of breakaway runs and big plays. His ability to break off 20, 30, and 40-yard runs at least a few times a game can really impact an offense. His abiliy to also break tackles and gain yards after contact can frustrate defenses.

Summary: Williams shows really impressive film and production in college. He could easily be an early-round and top-five running back in this draft class, boasting a complete game and three-down ability. However, his injury history and subpar athletic testing at the NFL Combine could really hurt his overall draft stock and cause several teams to pass on him in the first two days of the draft. In my opinion, he’s still well worth a Day 2 pick and is even a steal if he’s still available in the third round. However, some may view him as an early Day 3 prospect because of the medical red flags and durability concerns.

Overall Grade: 4.0/5.0

 

If Drafted by the Packers:

The Packers could definitely use a halfback like Jamaal Williams in their offense. He could be their bell cow and carry the rock 20-25 games if needed and set a tough, physical tone on offense. This is something they may need with Eddie Lacy now in Seattle. Williams would be a great game closer--a guy they could feed the ball in the fourth quarter when they’re trying to protect a lead.

However, what makes Williams special is he is more than just an early-down physical runner. He could also stay on the field on third downs and in their hurry-up passing offense. He’s excellent in pass protection and would be valuable to the Packers in blitz pickup. He can also be a reliable checkdown receiver out of the backfield and be effective in the screen game.

With Ty Montgomery in the backfield, Green Bay doesn’t necessarily need a third-down weapon in the backfield, even though it would be nice to have another guy like Williams who can hold up in this role. Where Williams fits best with Green Bay is he would complement Montgomery well at the position. Williams could be the Packers tough downhill halfback and then bring Montgomery on the field when they want a more dynamic runner on the field. Williams can do all of the yeoman work required at the position and Montgomery could be Green Bay’s change-of-pace guy.

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (1) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Obi Melifonwu Cooper Kupp, and Jamaal Williams are my three favorite prospects for the Packers in this draft.
If they were picked 1-2-3, I'd be apoplectic. :)

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