Scouting the RBs: Andre Williams, Boston College

andre williamsAndre Williams, the bruising and productive Heisman Trophy candidate runner for the Boston College Eagles exploded onto the national stage in 2013 with 2,103 yards rushing, 17 TDs, and a highlight reel that seems to go on forever.

Williams was a part-time runner prior to this season, as he totaled 349 career carries before getting 329 opportunities this year alone.  And while he’s been a solid runner in years past, his senior season has really put his skills on display.

Williams will likely be in the discussion when the top running backs in the 2014 Draft are debated.  Below is FRG Scouting’s take on his game.

Name:  WILLIAMS, Andre
Pos:        RB
HT:         5’11”
WT:        223
40:         4.60 (Est)

STRENGTHS:          Size, power, inside-running
WEAKNESSES:       Foot speed/quickness, wiggle, pass protection

Andre Williams is a big, thick, stocky running back who possesses the ideal frame and lower body bulk for the next level…He uses his mass and muscle to his advantage on inside running plays, displaying good pad level and leg drive to jolt would-be tacklers backward…Williams is a one-cut runner who is at his best when he sticks his foot in the dirt and gets his big body moving north/south…He’s a load to bring down and runs with a violent aggression and forward lean that gains yardage even when there’s none to be had…When in the open field, Williams lacks enough wiggle to make a man miss, but he has deceptive long speed and can pop a long run.

Williams does not have the foot speed needed to keep defenders on their heels…He’s not the greatest athlete, often looking labored when running in the open field…He’s tight in the hips, lacking the flexibility to stop and go on a dime…Williams is a liability in the passing game and will have a steep learning curve in pass protection…He failed to register a reception in 2013.

Off the field, reports suggest that Williams is a player of high character.  The son of Jamaican immigrants, Williams comes from an athletic family as his father was a sprinter in his native Jamaica.  Until the Syracuse game, Williams had enjoyed an injury-free 2013.

On the next level, Andre Williams will struggle to make as many big plays as he’s enjoyed this season at Boston College.  He’s simply not a dynamic enough athlete to make NFL defenders miss and/or to take advantage of the opportunities that require a quicker athlete at the running back position.  That said, Williams will still be an asset in short yardage and goal line situations.  In the right offense (see Washington), Williams would have a legit chance at being a featured back.  However, his limited athletic skill set projects him as a valuable sub-package player or short-term starting option.

GRADE:  6.3  (High-5th round)


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