Javonte Williams Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Physical downhill runner
Strong to run through tackles
Gets yards after contact
Strong lower body
Short-yardage, goal-line asset
Keeps feet going after contact
Can move the pile
Speed to hit the hole
Second gear to hit the second level
Can create for himself
Good body lean to run low
Bends at the knee
Runs behind his pads
Three-down starter ability
Good, but not great, speed
Will need work as a blitz protector
Summary: The pandemic made the 2020 season very strange, including a variety of draft ramifications from the decreased amount of games and to fewer prospects taking the field. Games were played at least, and as long as games are played, some players manage to improve their draft grades, and Williams was one prospect who really benefited from generating some tape in 2020.
Williams saw his first significant playing time in 2019, carrying the ball 166 times for an average of 5.6 yards per carry for 933 yards with five touchdowns. As a senior, Williams was deadly, platooning with teammate Michael Carter to provide a lethal backfield combination for the Tar Heels. In 2020, Williams averaged 7.3 yards per carry for 1,140 yards and 19 touchdowns, plus caught 25 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
Williams is a physical bell-cow back who has the ability to serve as the engine of a tough NFL rushing attack. He possesses three-down starting potential and can overwhelm a defense. With his power, size, and tough rushing style, Williams is a downhill runner who can impose his will through sheer strength. He also breaks a lot of tackles and picks up yards after contact because of his strong build, knee bend, and ability to run behind his pads. Defenders can really struggle to bring him down at the second level, and it often take multiple tacklers to get him to the turf. Thanks to his contact balance and strength, Williams is a true power back who can wear out a defense. His strength to run through tackles and push the pile makes him an asset in short-yardage and goal-line situations, with his 2020 touchdown total illustrating his ability to produce in the condensed portion of the field.
Along with his power, Williams has the quickness to hit the hole and a second gear to accelerate to the second level. Williams is not a burner, but he has good speed for a big back and is capable of ripping off yards in chunks.
Williams shows the ability serve as a receiving-down back. He has quality hands, runs solid routes for a big back, and shows vision and feel to find the soft spots in defenses. Williams will need some work as a blocker and identifying rushers in the NFL, like all college backs, but he has the size and strength to eventually develop into a good pass protector against blitzing defenders.
Some teams have Williams as the top-rated back for the 2021 NFL Draft. Others prefer Alabama's Najee Harris or Clemson's Travis Etienne. Williams looks likely to be selected during the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Frank Gore. In terms of running style, Williams reminds me of Gore. Gore was a tough, physical, downhill runner who picked up a lot of yards across his prolific NFL career. I don't think Williams will match Gore's longevity, as very few ever have, but in terms of running style, I could see Williams having a good career as a plus starter, like Gore was for most of his career.