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Packers Select Running Back Jamaal Williams In 2017 NFL Draft, Round Four

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Packers Select Running Back Jamaal Williams In 2017 NFL Draft, Round Four

With their fourth-round pick (134th overall) in the 2017 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Jamaal Williams, running back, BYU.

6'0" 212lbs, 4.59 40yd, 30.0″ vertical, 123.0″ broad jump. 7.25 3-cone, 18 Bench Reps (Pro Day), 4.26 20yd shuttle
Williams led the Cougars in rushing in all four seasons in which he played, even though he has had off-field and injury issues during his time in Provo. The all-state pick from California played immediately as a true freshman, starting eight games and rushing for 755 yards and 12 touchdowns on 166 carries. He also added 315 yards and a touchdown on 27 receptions. Williams was an FBS All-Independent team pick as the full-time starter in 2013, gaining 1,233 yards and scoring seven times on 217 totes (18-125 receiving). His junior season was derailed by a knee injury and suspension for multiple team code violations, including an underage drinking citation. He rushed for 518 yards and four scores in seven games that year, still leading the team in rushing. Williams sat out the 2015 season entirely after withdrawing from school for personal reasons, always intending to return for his senior season the following fall. He carried the mail for the Cougars 234 times in 2016, accumulating 1,375 yards and scoring 12 times, though he missed three games with an ankle injury. He finished fifth in the country with 137.5 yards per game last fall, in part thanks to a 287-yard, five-touchdown effort against Toledo before the ankle injury occurred.
CHEESEHEADTV.COM: 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.
Pro Football Focus:  Williams doesn’t stand out athletically. Most of his running drills at the combine were average at best. However, Williams is a good example of a running back whose strengths don’t show up in timed tests and drills against air. He shows great balance to stay upright and continue gaining yards while getting hit, and the leg drive to go along with it. His change of direction skills won’t “wow” anyone, but they are more than sufficient to make a way though the first and second levels in a zone-blocking scheme. He succeeded in a zone-heavy offense, but could be effective in most blocking schemes. BYU rarely utilized him as a receiver so he doesn’t have a lot of experience and it is uncertain if he can make any impact as a receiver in the NFL. Williams likely isn’t dynamic enough to be a lead back, but he could make an impact as a power back to pair with a speed or receiving back in a running back rotation.


With the trio of Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael and Don Jackson rounding out the Packers' backfield, not one "top dog" stands out. A "top dog" still doesn't stand out, even with the Williams selection. However, the Packers enhance the competition at running back now as a result of their final fourth-round pick. Williams won't bring eye-popping speed to the Packers, but he's someone who can contribute without question.

Whether or not Williams is there at the end of training camp, on the practice squad or cracking the 53-man roster, the Packers needed to address the running back position after going defense, defense, defense and more defense with their first four picks. Williams was the first offensive skill position



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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

MITM's picture


Spock's picture

Don't know a thing about him other than the commentary above. Seems like the "thunder" to Ty's "lightning". Looking forward to hearing from those of you who follow college ball! A complementary back to go with Montgomery. Offense now after all the defensive picks makes sense.

dobber's picture

I think he pushes Don Jackson off the roster. Packers will find another developmental UDFA back to round out a top 4 or to hide on the PS. I'm good with him, Monty and Michael at RB.

HankScorpio's picture

I hope they find one of those UDFAs to push Michael off the roster. He sure looked like the kind of player you find on the street mid-season, at least to me.

WKUPackFan's picture

UDFA RB? Ace Wales, WKU Hilltoppers. Hey, a guy can dream.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Looking at the highlights out there, this guys looks like a no BS, workhorse runner. One cut, no dancing, nice jumpstep. Looks like Matt Forte a little bit to me.

Nothing against this guy, but I am "meh" about this pick. I don;t know why they draft a running back in the 4th. I was expecting either a late round and/or a couple UDRFA RBs. This draft is loaded at RB and a bunch of guys will fall out of the draft. I expected them to get a OL, or WR which is real need. Or, I think Butt is still their and is a crazy value.

HankScorpio's picture

I'm not a big fan of heavy investment at RB. It's a passing league. So in theory I would agree.

But roster is so bad right now, I'm glad they got one this "early" and still think they need more. I don't necessarily want them to spend another pick but I'd sure like them to be aggressive in the post-draft UDFA frenzy at the position. The only guys from 2016 I want to see back are Montgomery and Ripkowski.

chugwater's picture

WR is not a need. In a year or two when Jordy moves on, sure, but not now.

That said, appears we took DeAngelo Yancy to add depth.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Yeah, not excited about him either. He is big and has average baseball player like speed so that was good enough to beat up on college cbs. I have seen him play a lot. Never seen him run a crisp route or a good double move, does not have great hands, does not explode off the line. Not sure why they drafted him this high.

HankScorpio's picture

It often takes 2-3 years for WRs to develop. If they wait until Jordy is gone, it's too late. I know nothing about DeAngelo Yancy but I sure won't argue with drafting a pass game weapon at the end of rnd 5.

Nick Perry's picture

Would have rather had Marlin Mack but hey, Williams might work out okay. I would have MUCH rather had Bucky Hodges, Leggett, or Butt, all TE's who could develop into STEALS by next year. Still could use a Guard too.

Hopefully whatever "Personal Problems" this kid had he leaves them at BYU.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Broncos got Butt. He's going to be a huge steal long term. Might even be ready for week 1.

dobber's picture

He was caught for underage drinking at BYU...that's akin to you or I dealing heroin in the rest of the world.

Rossonero's picture

He also (gasp) had sex at BYU and got in trouble for that. How dare he behave like a college student!

dobber's picture

I applied for a faculty job at BYU several years ago. The "covenant" you needed to sign was 4 pages long.

Nick Perry's picture

LOL...that's funny. I was there in 2001 for 3 weeks of training. We went to eat at Hooters and they monitored the amount of alcohol they could drink (I don't drink) or the amount they'd bring to the table in an hour, something like that. I thought it was pretty strange. Not to mention it kinda sucks for a student.

HankScorpio's picture

That article sure paints the picture of a hard working, dedicated guy. That's a huge piece of the puzzle for any player.

Rossonero's picture

I read this story too when someone texted it to me. The Packers certainly won't have any issues with his work ethic. He just likes to play video games and work out like crazy. His head is in the right place. I'm not worried that he didn't catch a lot of passes at BYU -- leave that to Ty Montgomery.

Even though we don't have a "top dawg" feature back, I like the backfield a lot more now.

Bearmeat's picture

It'll be good enough to keep defenses honest. That's not as good as 2013 Phat Ed version, but it'll be good enough when you factor in our passing game.

egbertsouse's picture

A "rules violation" at BYU could mean you had a cup of coffee or got to 3rd base with your girlfriend. I don't think this guy will be a problem.

EdsLaces's picture

This guy is gonna be legit ...

Allan Murphy's picture

Need more then one their will be more RB 's bet !

stockholder's picture

I would have rather had perine. Somebody to move the pile. TT must have seen something. Immature , just not enough speed and cutting ability.

MITM's picture

The day after the Packers lost Lacy, Bucky Brooks did a segment on NFLN about potential draft replacements at RB. The name he gave was Jamaal. Ever since then i watched him a decent amount from whatever tape I could find and have wanted him ever since.

pooch's picture

With our 2 new te's no need to go overboard on runnung backs Williams will workout just fine Dont over think it

EJ's picture

While I loved the Packers draft as a whole, this to me was the worst of the Packers draft picks. Williams is a poor athlete when you compare him to other RBs. He's a lighter, slower, less explosive Ty Montgomery. And he has limited receiving experience compared to other RBs available at the time. I don't think the Packers got better at RB yesterday. I would have chosen Jeremy McNichols.

dobber's picture

Sure, but the combine drills don't tell you much about anticipation, vision, ball security, or being a pro (the impact of study). He was a very productive runner playing for a decent program. On day 3, he's not a bad choice. It's about preference. I actually like the kid from UTEP better, but that's because I wanted to see more of a quick kind of back.

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