NAME: Kyren Williams
SCHOOL: Notre Dame
WEIGHT: 199 lbs
CLASS: Redshirt Sophomore
HOMETOWN: St. Louis, Missouri
HIGH SCHOOL: St. John Vianney
Kyren Williams is a former four star recruit out of St. John Vianney High School. He was offered scholarships by a good mix of Power Five schools. He received offers from schools like UNC, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Notre Dame, among others. In the end, he chose Notre Dame, where he didn’t really get going until his sophomore season. In his first year as a starter, he had a 1,000-yard season with 13 rushing touchdowns, averaging almost 100 yards per game. In this past season in 2021, he had another 1,000 yard rushing season and 14 rushing touchdowns. He finished the year as a Paul Hornung Award Finalist and a team captain.
GAMES WATCHED: 2020 – Clemson; 2021- Florida State, USC
Strengths: Williams is a very patient runner, he does an excellent job waiting on his blockers to do the dirty work and get a lane open. He is good at reacting quickly to what is happening in front of him and adjusting based off of what lanes get filled up. He shows good creativity by using his lateral quickness to beat defenders and get to the corner. Williams isn’t the most explosive player on the field but he can use his subtle moves to create distance and make space. When it comes to contact balance, he does a great job of keeping his body moving. His legs are always churning and he keeps a low center of gravity. Williams can bounce off of most corners, safeties, and some linebackers if they give a weak tackle attempt. Williams will translate well as a third-down back. While not used the most in the passing game, he makes the most of his targets. This definitely clicks back to his high school days where he spent time as a receiver. He shows good short burst quickness to get through gaps and make the most of the limited space that he has.
Weaknesses: Fumbles have been an issue for Williams in the past. In 2020, he had five fumbles and in 2021 he had three. Long speed is not what Williams is known for. He can burst off good runs but near the end, it seems like he lacks the fifth gear necessary to truly outlast defenses on long plays. He isn’t the most explosive back. His cuts are not super explosive and powerful, mainly using his lateral quickness to create the separation. When it comes to pass blocking he does not do well in this category. There are times when a pass rusher obliterates him and moments where he struggles to identify the right guy to take.
Overall: Williams is a very solid and consistent running back in this draft class. His ability to consistently get yards, stay on his feet, and explode through small spaces is impressive. Sometimes it’s not always about breaking off a 90 yard run for a touchdown. Consistently getting yards and putting your team in good positions is what it’s about. There are some concerns for him with ball control. He showed improvement from 2021 and 2020, so let’s hope he continues to improve in this area. Overall I give him a second round grade. In my opinion, he isn’t the best running back in the draft but he is one of the top guys. He definitely deserves a spot on an NFL team and I feel he can be a consistent starting back in the NFL for a few years to come.
Final Grade: 7.65
Round Projection: 2nd Round
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