Packers Profile: Jamaal Williams

A profile on Packers running back Jamaal Williams.

The Tape

  • Position:  Running Back
  • Age:  22
  • Height:  6’
  • Weight:  214 lbs.
  • Arm Length:  31 ¼”
  • 40-yard dash:   4.59 seconds
  • 3-cone drill:  7.25 seconds
  • Vertical Jump:  30”
  • Broad Jump:  10’ 3”

The Roots

Jamaal Williams began his football career as a prep star at Summit High School in Fontana, California.  During his sophomore year, he started turning the heads of college scouts with his impressive running style and by putting up solid numbers while sharing carries with a future PAC-10 running back a year ahead of him.  During his junior year prep campaign, Williams tallied 93 carries for 717 yards and 11 touchdowns, which generated interest from Boise State, Utah, New Mexico State, San Diego State and Brigham Young University.

After visiting some of the campuses that had interest, Williams committed to BYU after his junior year, citing that the school had a great feel for him and that the focus on football, and not the other surroundings usually tempting a high school star at a campus, was important to him.  This focus on the game is a strong indication of where Jamaal’s head is when it comes to football.

After committing to BYU, Williams added to his impressive prep career during his senior year by posting 141 carries for 1,252 yards and 22 touchdowns, leaving his high school career totals at 38 games, 306 carries, 2,390 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Upon entering the program at BYU, Williams made an impact right away as a true freshman by starting eight of 13 games his first year.  During his freshman campaign, he racked up 1,090 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns.  Williams’ success continued through his sophomore and junior years with the Cougars as well.  With three games remaining in his junior year, Williams suffered a torn ACL and other ligaments in his knee.  Coupling that with a BYU Honor Code violation and subsequent one-game suspension for having a girl in his dorm room (oh, the horror!), Jamaal withdrew from the school and redshirted the 2015 season.

After the redshirt year in 2015, Williams rejoined the team in 2016 for his senior year with a fire lit under his tail.  Posting 1,375 yards on 234 carries and 12 touchdowns highlighted by a BYU single-game record of 286 yards and five touchdowns against Toledo, Williams raised the eyebrows of NFL scouts.  His senior year numbers lead the Independent Conference in all three categories.  In his final game as a Cougar, Jamaal was named MVP of the Poinsettia Bowl game against Wyoming, Williams rushed for 210 yards and one touchdown while being named the game’s MVP.

Totaling up 3,901 yards on 726 career carries and 35 touchdowns during his career at BYU, Williams left the Cougars as their all-time leader in career rushing yards and single-game rushing touchdowns.  He finished as the Cougars third all-time single-season rushing yards holder and career touchdowns holder as well.

Finding the end zone against Sparty!

Finding the end zone against Sparty!

The Rookie Campaign

With the 134th pick in the 2017 draft, the Packers selected Jamaal Williams in the fourth round, making him the highest BYU Cougar running back selected in over 40 years.  After the 2017 draft, Williams joined two other running backs from his draft class, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays, on the 90-man roster entering training camp.  With the excitement of Ty Montgomery’s full-time move to the position as well, the running back position was a featured battle during the summer of 2017.

As camp progressed and the team moved into the preseason, Montgomery carried the bulk of the running back load with the first team offense, but both Williams and Aaron Jones had flashes of brilliance with the skills that they brought to the table.  Through the four preseason games, Williams didn’t get a big workload until the finale against the Rams, where he shouldered 11 carries. 

Maybe the Packers coaching staff wasn’t working him too hard in the preseason knowing he would have a 53-man roster spot because Williams did earn that spot heading into the 2017 regular season.  As the season commenced, Montgomery carried the bulk of the teams carries as the number one man on the depth chart.  Through the first five weeks, Williams’ highest carry total was four during the week four matchup against the Bears.

Following Montgomery’s week four rib injury against the Bears, Jones and Montgomery took a bulk of the carries during the following games against the Cowboys, Vikings, Saints and Lions game coming out of the bye.

From the week 10 matchup with the Bears through the rest of the regular season, Williams began carrying the bulk of the load out of the Packers backfield.  Together with Jones, the pair showed that they can combine to be a dual threat out of the backfield.  Ranging between 10 -22 carries per game to end the season, Williams finished the season with 153 total rushes for a team-leading 556 yards and team tying four rushing touchdowns.  He topped that with a total of 25 receptions for 262 yards and two receiving touchdowns.

Scoring on the Bucs!

Scoring on the Bucs!

The Future

Looking at what lies ahead for the second year back is difficult given the craps shoot nature of the running back position in today’s NFL.   Paired with the fact that a healthy Aaron Rodgers will be returning this season, we don’t know where the emphasis on the running back position will fall.

With that aside, Williams displayed that he can run with ferocity as well as catch the ball out of the backfield during his rookie campaign, which should sit well with the star quarterback.  In the 2017 matchup against the Buccaneers, while not getting the glory of the overtime touchdown like backfield mate Jones, Williams showed he can put the load on his back with 113 yards and a touchdown when his quarterback was playing poorly at home in December.

How the trio of Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery will fall into place during the 2018 season remains to be seen.  Devante Mays and newcomer Joel Bouagnon are on the active roster as well and the Packers will surely look to bring other draft picks or undrafted free agents into the picture come May for more competition during camp among the running backs.

The future sure does seem bright for Williams though.  He’s a kid that has a good head on his shoulders as seen way back in his high school days, into college and upon entering the NFL.  The right attitude and skill set moving forward should bode well for the young back as he enters his second year in the league, making for an exciting young prospect for the Packers future at running back.

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Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Comments (12)

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nostradanus's picture

January 26, 2018 at 05:20 pm

I love his hard-nosed running style. Williams is not flashy but he will punish a Defense and is the yin to Aaron Jones yang. Williams softens the Defense so Jones and Montgomery can dart through the hole to pay dirt. This is a good stable of backs at a bargain price. The old White Hair new what he was doing when he drafted them. I think Gute will draft another this year just for good measure.

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I bleed green more's picture

January 26, 2018 at 08:37 pm

I like his running ability he may do well this year with Rodgers there.

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GBPDAN1's picture

January 27, 2018 at 05:36 pm

I like our running backs. But, I'm curious to see who will be opening up running lanes on the right side of our line. Bulaga was hurt again and getting worn down. According to this site, he didn't grade out very well when he did play, just like all the RTs backing him up. If you look at the final grades for 2017 that were posted on here, the whole right tackle contingency was problematic.

And what about RG? Evans filled in well for most of the year, but tapered off a bit at the end. He mentioned retiring. If Bulaga and Evans are back, I hope they stay healthy and can be productive.

It will be an interesting off season. There's some questions at RG and RT. TE, Edge rusher and another stud CB are needed. A burner WR who can run routes and catch would be a welcome addition (help take the top off the opposing D), as we have been rated as the slowest receiver group in the league .

Our new GM has his work cutout for him. He also needs to wrap up AR to a long term contract in the near future. I have a positive attitude that we will field a good team next year. I like the coordinator changes. Go Pack!

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CAG123's picture

January 27, 2018 at 12:02 am

I don’t think they will muddy things up by just making Ty a RB I don’t think he can take the punishment Joe Philbin is a more creative offensive mind than MM I think he’ll find better ways to use him. I think Ty can be that YFS guy like a bigger yet slower prime Darren Sproles. As far as I’m concerned the RB depth chart is Jones, Williams, and Mays.

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CAG123's picture

January 27, 2018 at 09:38 am

Duh I know Darren Sproles was listed as a RB (smh) but that’s not really the point of what I was saying. I’m referring to how he was used particularly with the Saints when he racked up over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,900 receiving yards from 2011-2013 he had 6 rushing TDs and 21 receiving. That is how I feel the Packers should be using him not as a primary back. Plus he wasn’t that great when healthy he only averaged 3.8 yards a carry and he doesn’t run as naturally as Williams or Jones. I remember the question being can he carry the load of being a full time RB well we got out answer this year.

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CAG123's picture

January 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

I still feel like the bulk of the carries should go to Williams and Jones which allows more creativity for Ty he could have those 40/60 rush and receiving yard games Sproles would have. I just want to see him used to his abilities before he ends getting released and some other team figures out to use him.

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John Kirk's picture

January 27, 2018 at 01:46 am

I thought Jamaal Wiliams was a waste of a pick when we drafted him. A plodder to go with the slowest WR's and TE's in the NFL. I just couldn't understand with all the great RB's in this class how we ended up taking him?

He exceeded my expectations. Although, his YPC was below 4, he was running into stacked boxes. Hundley was little to no threat in the passing game so, I'd like to see what 30 can do when Rodgers is back under center and our passing game is garnering the attention it deserves. We got a small glimpse at Carolina, but that D is just hard to run on regardless who is at QB.

In contrast...look at the tape difference when Aaron Jones got it in Carolina vs. 30. Those two are playing at two totally different speeds.

Williams is the kind of back the Packers of the mid 90s would've trotted out to use the advantage of a slow cold field in January. Hopefully, he can be that for us in 2018.

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Coldworld's picture

January 27, 2018 at 06:44 am

The Packers need a pounder who can gain tough yards and also do some damage on screens. Williams gives them that time eating and D line tiring back. He is an asset that I am excited to see what Philbin can do in tandem with Jones or Monty. Really make opponents wonder what they need to cover.

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DD's picture

January 27, 2018 at 08:08 am

Williams and Jones are hard nosed backs who run with attitude! I like them. Unfortunately MM will revert mainly back to his boring, noncreative, no scheme passing attack with Rodgers. Yes Rodgers should be passing, but a balanced attack will put much less pressure on the line blocking and Rodgers. Will MM do it? I really doubt it. One year MM. Produce now or pack your bags!!

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CAG123's picture

January 27, 2018 at 09:39 am

Joe Philbin will be calling plays this time around

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John Kirk's picture

January 27, 2018 at 10:56 am

Philbin won't be calling plays. MM will.

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EdsLaces's picture

January 29, 2018 at 06:21 am

Exciting off-season to say the least. Who will be our #1 RB? Will we still have 87 and or 18? Will we draft a TE early? Do we get a pass rusher or CB in the first round? Can't.....freakin...wait till april.

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