The Future 2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Javonte Williams
Javonte Williams was a part of a two-man backfield at UNC where he and Michael Carter dominated the run game for the Tar Heels. At 5'10, 210lbs, Williams was the big, powerful runner who was able to use his elusiveness to created missed and broken tackles. He is a three-down back who does a good job in both pass protection and as a receiving threat out of the backfield. I have him ranked as my third overall back behind Travis Etienne and Najee Harris. Below I will discuss his vision and ability to create, his burst, his ability to create yards after contact and finish runs, how well he plays in the passing game, and how well he can block and not fumble the ball.
Vision/Create- Javonte Williams is not just a power back, he does a very good job of making defenders miss in the open field as well as in the backfield. His vision is very good as well as he knows when to make cuts up the field or to the backside and his vision to find open holes is very good. He knows when to go off-script to try to create on his own as well as when to stick to the plan and pound the ball through the pile to get whatever yards he can. He is very good in one-cut scenarios where he sees the field very well to set himself up for success.
Burst- He shows a good combination of burst and patience. He has the patience to wait for the play to develop and the burst to explode through the hole at 100mph. His ability to accelerate around the edge is very good as he often destroys defender's angles. He averaged an explosive 7.3 yards per carry in 2020 and his tape matches his production.
Finish/YAC- Williams is a bull of a runner who never goes down easily. His contact balance is ridiculous and he almost always falls forward, fighting for every single inch he can get. He does a great job of bouncing off of defenders to stay on his feet and keep running. The game against Miami showed off his ability to gain yards after contact where run after run it seemed like it would take half the Miami defense to bring him down with how easily he was bouncing off of tacklers. He has consistently shown that it takes multiple defenders to take him down and that he can just run over defenders when he gets to the 2nd and 3rd levels of the defense.
Passing Game- He is a three-down back who can be a reliable threat as a receiver out of the backfield. He catches the ball with his hands and knows how to get upfield and make plays in the open field. He also does a good job when the play breaks down and he has to go off script to get open for the quarterback. He is a solid route runner and will be able to consistently get open against linebackers at the next level.
Blocking/Ball Security- His ball security is very good as he has only fumbled the ball three times on 416 touches. In pass protection, he does a good job to meet blitzing linebackers in the hole aggressively. On the edge, there are times where he can be beaten in one on one situations so he will need to improve on the edge. He has good hands, a solid base, and has shown the willingness to be good in pass pro in the NFL.
With the value of the running back position seeming to decrease year in and year out, Williams could end up being under drafted due to his positional value. He is a very good football player who is going to fall into the 2nd-3rd round. He will bring the talent of a three-down back into the NFL but the only question will be if he can handle the workload of an every-down back since he never was asked to do that in college. With how the NFL is shifting towards a running back by committee approach it may not matter though.