Scouting Report: Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma
The red flag of opportunity?
This year’s running back class is getting way too much disrespect. Collectively, I think it’s a very good group of backs and there will be more then a handful who are significant fantasy contributors. While there may be only a few clean cut next-level starters, there are at least fifteen who have the upside to be one. Yes, fifteen ... easily.
Damien Williams is one of those guys. He could be a starter in the NFL or a guy who makes a solid impact. He could also continue to have the off-field issues that de-railed much of his college career. Williams is his own worst enemy it would seem. Teams don’t toss talent like his aside for no reason. His suspension and eventual dismissal is certainly a big old red flag. The kind one might find at a bull fight. Of course, a red flag is not a fatal flaw. It’s a risk factor and all players have risk. Quite honestly, if Williams had no character concerns, he’d be a potential early round pick.
Williams did receive a Combine invite and he participated in all the drills. Let’s take a look at Damien’s Combine data.
- Height - 5’11”
- Weight - 222
- Hands - 9 1/8”
- 40 - 4.45
- Bench - 16 reps
- Vertical Jump - 35.5
- Broad Jump - 121”
- 3-Cone - 7.37
- 20 YD Shuttle - 4,25
- 60 YD Shuttle - 11.76
His numbers are solid though a little bit lacking in the area of agility. It is worth pointing out that Williams does show off quickness and cutting ability on film, so we are not overly concerned here.
Things we like about Williams.
- Size - He is prototypically sized for an NFL back.
- Speed - 4.45 at 222 pounds is eye-popping and it’s real speed if you watch the game tape.
- Burst - While he may not be as agile as some backs, Williams can get out of tight spots with burst and acceleration.
- Cutting ability - Williams is not the most efficient cutter when he’s at full speed, but he will make some people miss in tight space and at times out in the open.
- Receiving ability - Williams has good hands and pretty good hips when you consider his build. He runs good routes and can be a major contributor in the passing game if given the chance. He has some extra fantasy appeal for those in PPR formats.
- 3-down ability - Power backs with receiving chops are three down players and that’s what Williams has the potential to be if he can get it all together.
- Power - Williams uses good pad level, especially when finishing plays on and interior runs. His pad level and size allow him to finish runs well. This is an NFL trait that certain teams want in a back.
- Strength - Williams is strong all over though he was only adequate on the bench.
- Production - Though he missed time with some injuries and suspensions, Williams did produce well when he was on the field.
Here’s a look at Williams last season versus Texas Tech. You can see his versatility in this game.
Here he is against Texas in 2012. You can see the speed and burst that is uncommon for backs his size.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is Williams NFL appeal and subsequent fantasy worth. The way I see it, he needs two things to happen. First, he needs to get his act together. He needs to get serious about being a professional. Will that happen? I can’t say I’d wager for or against it. The other thing Williams needs is an opportunity, and those are hard for all backs and probably a bit tougher for those who ended their college career on suspension. Nevertheless, if he gets drafted, and we think he will, he’ll have a shot.
The team Williams ends up with is obviously important. We’ll know more soon. For you dynasty leaguers, Williams could be a real find, especially if he stays a bit under-the-radar.
We’ll update his fantasy value in our post-draft rookie rankings.
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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