Scouting Report: Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
We've watched a whole lot of film of Boston College’s Andre Williams and he’s an easy back to like. Williams is relentless--running hard on every play, and he can knock over just about any defender once he gets his pads lowered. I have no doubt whatsoever that Williams has an NFL future, but, sadly, that future might be brighter if Williams was able to play in the NFL of the past. This kid is an old school bell cow tailback. The big question for Andre is, how many teams are looking for that type of back right now? Even big backs with a broader skill set are finding full-time gigs hard to come by these days. For this reason, I think people need to temper expectations on NFL Draft day.
Andre was at the Combine in Indianapolis and he did all the drills with the exception of the bench press, which he avoided, most likely due to lingering shoulder issues.
When asked to describe his running style, Williams gave an answer we totally agreed with. “I would say I’m a downhill runner. I’m best when my shoulders are square to the line. I make a quick cut, and I get upfield. I use my shoulders and hands as weapons. I like to punish the defense, punish the DBs. I like to finish in the fourth quarter.”
Williams comes off as a smart kid with varied interests. “I like to read, I like to write. I’m actually working on a book. I like to think. I’m a deep thinker. I like to be around my family, my older brother. I have a couple dogs. I like to take care of them. I like to cook.” Apart from the e-hamony feel, that’s a quote that NFL teams will like. Cooking doesn’t often get you into much trouble. And I’m not going there with the dogs. Williams is, by most accounts, a very good kid.
Let’s take a look at Williams’ Combine data.
- Height - 5’11”
- Weight - 230
- Hands - 9”
- Arms - 33 1/2”
- 40 - 4.56
- Vertical Jump - 38”
- Broad Jump - 129” (3rd)
- 3-Cone Drill - 7.27
- 20 YD Shuttle - 4.06 (T-2nd)
- 60 YD Shuttle - 11.62 (3rd)
These numbers are pretty impressive when you consider Williams’ size. You see explosiveness with the leaping ability and the forty time was big for his draft stock. We suspect that he’d have impressed on the bench if he’d be able to perform.
Here are the things we like about Williams.
- Size - You cannot teach 230 pounds plus good agility.
- Build - Not only is Williams large, he is built fairly low at 5’11” and he has a low center of gravity. Knocking this dude off of his feet or his intended path is a serious chore.
- Speed - Backs who weigh 230 and run 4.56 are a rare breed.
- Physicality - I’m a big fan of the way Andre attacks would-be tacklers. He initiates contact at times and that keeps defenders off balance.
- Running style - Williams runs the way you’d want him to run for his body type. He’s always looking to get north-south and he’s a runaway train when he gets up to ramming speed.
- Pad level - Williams will employ different tactics at different times, but when he lowers the pads, he does so effectively, and is very tough to deal with.
- Big play ability - While a lot of power runners lack long speed, Williams has some and he can pull away from slower defenders. And, even if he is run down by a smaller faster player, that defender is no lock to bring him down. If this guy gets a chance somewhere, he is capable of some long runs.
- Production - In 2013 he amassed 2,177 rushing yards, and that is pretty impressive no matter how you slice it. Williams also added 18 rushing touchdowns.
This is a good example of what a typical Williams game looks like. He gets stronger as the game goes on and is at his best when it counts.
Here’s a look at Andre’s 2013 highlight reel.
There’s a whole lot to like with Andre in terms of carrying the rock. He has excellent potential as a power back. The key for him will be his receiving skills and pass protection. We’re not that impressed with him in either area and he must learn to protect the quarterback if he is going to stay on the field in a throw-first NFL. As far as receiving goes, we are talking about a back with ten career receptions and, like with Lache Seastrunk, none in 2013.
The best destinations for Williams would be places like Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlanta and New England. Those teams all have schemes that can feature this type of one-cut power runner. Williams seemed very much ok with the idea of being a Patriot when asked about the possibility in Indianapolis. “It would be a blessing to end up on the Patriots squad. They’re a winning franchise. They have a great coach. He seems like a really level-headed cool guy to deal with. It would be great to go back to the Northeast. That’s where my family is situated right now. It would be a great fit.” Yes, it would be, and we would not be at all surprised if he ended up there.
For fantasy purposes, you have a back who will be limited in PPR formats, at least early on. Landing on the right team is obviously huge as scheme fit is crucial for this player. Right now, Williams is a solid option in dynasty, especially if it’s non-PPR. It’s hard to see him having much redraft value as a rookie, but he could have some worth in a really good situation, like Atlanta.
I’ll update Williams’ fantasy value after the draft in our post-draft rookie rankings.
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Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
- Terrance West, RB, Towson
- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
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