High-end NFL Player Comp(s):
Ronald Jones Low-end NFL Player Comp(s):
A more physical Carlos Hyde
Best Scheme Fit: Man (gap)-blocking
scheme. Although he executed a healthy mix of zone- and man-blocking
runs, his best fit is an offense that will allow him to run between
the tackles and accentuate his power.
Non-bolded times - Good examples of attribute Bolded times - Average/poor examples of attribute
Fantasy Prospect Grade* (out of 50): 43.0
* - How well does his skill set carry over to the fantasy
game? For running backs, a player needs to be a three-down option
as well as a realistic threat for 1,000 rushing yards and 500
receiving yards to be a candidate for a perfect grade. Positional
scarcity at the pro level is also a part of the equation.
Here is Williams in a nutshell: Pro Football Focus credited him
with an FBS-best 75 missed tackles forced on 157 carries and he
gained 831 yards after contact (fourth) in 2020. Chris Carson may
be the most physical back in the league right now, but he may end
up taking a back seat to this kid. As far as power and tackle-breaking
ability are concerned, he compares favorably to Marshawn Lynch.
His contact balance is among the best in recent memory, meaning
he is nearly impossible to bring down with an arm or shoulder tackle.
As if his balance and power aren't enough, he also possesses a stiff-arm
that will embarrass an unsuspecting defender. Williams is a capable
receiver; he finished his college career with multiple catches in
nine of his last 10 games. North Carolina didn't just limit him
to a check-down duty either, instead entrusting him to run wheel,
circle and option routes on occasion. And while there is still work
to be done on his timing and technique in pass protection, Williams
appears to take great pride in keeping the quarterback clean.
It's fair to wonder if Williams' violent running style will allow
him to remain healthy for 17 games or be anything more than a leader
of a committee backfield. Williams didn't have too many bad games
in 2020, but his worst one came against North Carolina's most difficult
opponent in Notre Dame. He looked slower than usual, indecisive
at times and his almost-superhuman ability to shed tacklers disappeared.
Was he trying to do too much, was it just an off-day for him (or
the Tar Heels) or a sign of things to come when he faces a defense
with other future NFL players? While 366 career carries is a good
thing for his pro longevity, it's at least a bit concerning - even
sharing the backfield with a dynamic playmaker like fellow draft
classmate Michael Carter - that the North Carolina coaching staff
did not give him more than 166 carries (or 183 touches) in any season.
Like many power backs, he is not a natural hands-catcher and was
charged with three drops on 27 catchable targets (PFF). Williams
has exceptional burst for a back of his size (as evidenced by his
27 carries of 15 yards last season), but he only broke three runs
of 40-plus runs in his career (two of which came in his final game).
Longtime fans of the NFL will almost certainly fall in love with
Williams, who will cause more than a few defenders to make business
decisions over the next few years. His contact balance and tackle-breaking
ability are elite, and that alone figures to put him in a position
to handle goal-line and four-minute work immediately. Williams is
also an attractive prospect with theoretical upside from the standpoint
that he won't turn 21 years old until the week of the draft, making
him over a year younger than Travis Etienne and two years younger
than Najee Harris. It seems more likely than not that "Pookie"
(his nickname) will begin his career in a committee for three reasons:
1) he never consistently handled a heavy load in college, 2) he
isn't the most natural receiver and 3) his running style increases
the likelihood he'll get injured at some point. While Williams'
career could easily mirror Carson's in that it might take him a
bit to become the starter with his new team, it's also not difficult
to see him becoming the featured back in his second year. It's also
possible his hands could force him to accept a Jones-like role as
well. Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured
in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He
is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst
on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM’s
“Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy
Sports Writers Association.