Draft Profile: RB Joe Williams, Utah

There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior running back Joe Williams, Utah Utes.

RB-Joe Williams, Utah 5’11” 205 lbs.

This senior is unique as he quit on his football team during his senior season for a month, came back and performed at a high level. Williams stated that he left the team due to multiple injuries that took away his desire to play. Does he have enough talent to overcome that misstep?

Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the seven games I reviewed of the junior playmaker: 2016 contests versus UCLA, BYU, Arizona State, Indiana, Oregon, and this year’s Shrine Game. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. Here are my thoughts:

Cons: Character concerns are front and center with him. First, he was dismissed from the UConn football program due to stealing and then he leaves his team two weeks into the season for a month. Williams said it was about not feeling healthy and his love of the game, but was it about his dismal performances in those first two 2016 games? Will he quit on a team at the next level when the going gets tough? The runner does not create on his own and has ball security issues. When the back got an opportunity to be in space (usually outside the offensive tackles), he could out run or maneuver most of the defenders in his way. Closing speed is in abundance in the NFL; I have my doubts Williams will be able to break away from most NFL defenders. The former Ute runs a bit high and possesses smallish legs that do not appear to generate the power to break tackles at the next level. His lack of concentration is concerning even on running plays; for example, he was trailing his quarterback on an option play, and it appeared that he did not expect the ball when it got tossed back to him. That resulted in a fumble. His pass blocking needs a lot of work as he either cuts low (allowing defenders to almost leap frog over him) or doesn’t set his feet which allows him to get knocked around. If Williams isn’t involved in the play, he will engage a defender only about half the time.

Pros: Once the runner finds a crease in open space, he has the burst to run down the sidelines for a score turning on a second and sometimes third gear. He follows his blockers well with decent vision. Williams uses spins, jump cuts, stutter steps, and stiff-arms to create separation from him and defenders. His best fit would be on a zone blocking team that allows him to use his lateral agility. Some of William’s best runs were on counters that exploited the defense’s weaknesses. He has soft hands that were underused at Utah but is very efficient on screens.

Overall impressions: I’m a hater with his character concerns. Quit on your team when the season isn’t going well? He isn’t hard-nosed enough to run inside, can’t pass block, and barely caught the ball. Where can you use him? Perhaps if you like his speed, you can draft him in the last round and stick him on a taxi squad. I will probably avoid him in drafts.

Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.

Originally published at dynastyfootballfactory.com on February 19, 2017.