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PFF scouting report: Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 21: Jamaal Williams #21 of the Brigham Young Cougars scores on a short run during the second half of a game against the Wyoming Cowboys on December 21, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Name: Jamaal Williams

School: BYU

Position fit: Running back

Stats to know: 55 missed tackles forced as a runner in 2016 were tied for eighth-most in the draft class.

What he does best:

  • Great at keeping his balance through contact.
  • Powerful runner who gains a good amount of yardage finishing runs through final contact.
  • Capable of dragging defenders along with him.
  • Utilizes stiff arm and spin moves to extend runs.
  • Has good ball security, just two fumbles on 369 touches over two seasons.

Biggest concerns:

  • Burst is a bit lacking and long speed won’t consistently turn big runs into long touchdowns.
  • May have a harder time getting the edge on wide runs in the NFL.
  • Little experience as a receiver out of the backfield in the passing game.
  • Will need some work on pass protection, but at least does attack and is physical with pass rushers. Shows potential as a pass blocker.

Player comparison: Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts

Purely from a style comparison and not a production prediction, Williams has some similarities to Gore. Williams doesn’t have as compact of a build as Gore, but they share similar running styles. They lack long speed, but move well enough laterally to make their ways through traffic, and are aggressive, physical runners who gain more yards after contact than most sub-220-pound running backs.

Bottom line: 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.


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