2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: James Williams




  • James Williams, 6-4/230
  • Linebacker
  • Miami

James Williams Scouting Report

By Charlie Campbell

Strengths:

  • Fast
  • Big
  • Strong
  • Violent hitter
  • Covers a lot of ground
  • Dangerous pursuit run-defender
  • Sideline-to-sideline speed
  • Impactful tackler
  • Very physical
  • Quick
  • Diagnosis skills
  • Read-and-react skills
  • Stays around the ball
  • Fast to the flat
  • Closing speed
  • Rangy
  • Superb pass-coverage linebacker potential
  • Can help cover against tight ends and running backs
  • Can drop into zone coverage
  • Durable
  • Upsidel continues to improve

Weaknesses:

  • Instincts at linebacker are an unknown
  • Could be too big for safety in the NFL
  • Will need more development for taking on blocks
  • Might need a year of development

Prospect Summary:

Miami has had a great tradition of producing talendted safeties, and that was reestablished in recent years by Kamren Kinchens and James Williams. In 2022, Williams totaled 59 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and six passes broken up. During 2023, he recorded 73 tackles, an interception and four passes batted. For the NFL, Williams is a fit as an outside linebacker who also could help as a strong safety. Linebacker is his best option given his size.

In the ground game, Williams is a forceful tackler who wraps up ball-carriers and gets them to the ground. At times, Williams will fly across the field and absolutely destroy whoever has the ball. Williams arrives with violence, laying some bone-rattling hits that punish the other team. It would be good to see him look to wrap up on some plays rather than just knock a player into next week. That adjustment would help to avoid missed tackles at the pro level.

For an outside linebacker, Williams has the size and mentality to take on blocks, hold his ground, shed the block, and get in on tackles. But his technique issues are things that will require coaching at the pro level. Williams is a good chase run-defender and projects to be a fit as a Will – weak side – linebacker. However. his instincts at linebacker and his technique there will require NFL coaching after playing safety in college. Williams might need a year of development before being ready to compete for a starting job at the next level.

In pass coverage, Williams is a skilled defender for the linebacker position. He is fast to cover ground and eats up space in a hurry in zone. Williams reads plays quickly and gets to his landmarks in that system. He definitely has the speed to run down the middle seam. On dump-off passes to the flat, Williams flies into the ball-carrier and is good at making tackles in space. His size and athleticism offer him the potential to play man coverage on tight ends and backs out of the backfield. Williams could be a very good pass-coverage linebacker in the NFL.

Some team sources said they think Williams could go on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft and could turn into a good pro starter.

Prospect Comparison:

Zach Cunningham. Williams reminds me of a more physical version of Cunningham. Both have sideline-to-sideline speed and quality size. They also are skilled in pass coverage for the pro game. Cunningham was a good NFL linebacker for a number of years, and Williams could turn into a similar pro.





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