Senior Bowl Spotlight: Jamaal Williams, Brigham Young University
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 211 lbs
Hands: 9 ⅝”
Arm: 30 ½”
Wing: 72 ⅞”
40 yard dash: 4.59 (official)
NFL Comparison: Alfred Morris, Devontae Booker
Scouting Notes: Had Jamaal Williams played at a university with a more renowned football program, you would have heard about him by now. Still, the hard-charging downhill runner has done what he can to make the football world pay attention with his dominating performances that shattered several BYU records including most yards rushing in a game (286 yards) against Toledo and most career rushing yards (3,688) – he would have had more if not for an injury-shortened junior year in which he only played 8 games. The year after this injury, Williams took a break from football and from school to heal and to avoid an impending minimum one-game suspension for undisclosed reasons. That being said, Williams was well-liked and admired during his time at BYU, even becoming a team captain in 2016.
Williams is the kind of runner that is ever moving forward, breaking tackles and building steam all the while. He has great balance, which would be surprising if he was a bigger back – he weighed in at only 211 lbs at the Senior Bowl. He plays much bigger than that though, and that’s partially due to his long legs and downhill running style. Williams has superb vision for such a tenacious back. His first cut is usually the right one, and he’s got lateral agility for days. He isn’t a speedster, but Williams is able to maintain what speed he has over a long stretch, so he finishes his runs with strength and explosion. During his time at BYU, Williams lined up as a receiver on multiple occasions, but he did not catch many passes. During Senior Bowl practice he showed capable hands as a receiver, though. Williams one knock on the field in my eyes is as a blocker. Maybe the fact that he’s such a powerful runner for his size makes the apparent lack of tenacity as a blocker so evident. You’d expect him to do a better job sustaining blocks and staying on his feet. Fortunately, this is an aspect of his game that Williams can improve on with practice.
Friend of RW Turron Davenport interviews Williams at the Senior Bowl
Fantasy Outlook: There are some character concerns with Williams – his suspension and an arrest for suspicion of underage drinking, but anyone who spends even a short time with him, as I did, can tell you he’s more than affable. Also, BYU is extremely hard on drinking infractions due to its unique student honor code. The knee injury that shortened his junior year could rear its head at some point too, though his monster of a senior year lends doubt to that notion. In a less formidable running back class, Williams would be a top 5 back, but as things sit he’s a second day pick at best. It’s apparent to me that Williams can be a three-down back in the league if he can pick up his blocking skills, though. He doesn’t rate off the charts in any one department, but he’s able to do everything a team would want out of a primary back. If you miss out on one of the marquee backs in your dynasty draft, Williams is a nice consolation prize if he lands in the right spot.