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2021 NFL Draft: Projecting North Carolina RB Javonte Williams' impact as an NFL player

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Javonte Williams (25) with the ball in the second quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again. While there are still four teams and three games remaining in the 2020 NFL season, the time has come to evaluate some NFL draft prospects.

While running back is not a position that moves the needle a ton at the NFL level, there are always some younger players who come in and make an impact early on — players like Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott and James Robinson, to name a few — and it’s a position where finding talent late in the draft (or outside of the draft entirely) can yield value.

[Editor's Note: PFF's new college-to-pro projection system is powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.]

Finding the proverbial diamond in the rough can allow teams to avoid the mistake of paying a running back a second contract (see: Robinson and Leonard Fournette). That’s what these college-to-pro projections are for.

The subject of this article, Javonte Williams, was absolutely terrific in 2020, averaging over 7.0 yards per carry and 4.59 yards after contact per carry for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He racked up over 2,000 yards rushing over the last two years despite carrying the football only 322 times. This lack of wear and tear on his tires, coupled with his outrageous efficiency, should make him a great prospect in the NFL.

How Williams Projects as a Runner

In the context-free projection, which assumes that Williams will be deployed in the pros in the same way he was deployed at UNC, Williams has a very good median projection, with statistical comps equal to Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry as a runner.

The context-free projection for Javonte Williams as a runner.

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