Kerwynn Williams Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Utah State RB
Seventh Round: 230th Pick
Utah State isn't known as a running back factory or even a football factory, but after having two running backs drafted in 2012, they are set to have a third taken this year.
Kerwynn Williams isn't as fast as Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Michael Smith or as big as Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin, but he has what it takes to contribute in the NFL.
Williams is a compact back with great feet and good hands as a receiver out of the backfield. He has the long speed to take any touch to the house. Williams doesn't dance in the backfield and will run hard between the tackles. He can also make moves at speed in the open field to extend long runs.
Williams lacks the size and strength to be an every-down back. He generally goes down on first contact and is much more effective running outside. Williams' initial burst doesn't match his long speed, and he isn't elusive in the backfield. He won't be an effective blocker against NFL pass-rushers, and his frame is probably maxed out.
Solidly built at 5'8", 195 pounds, Williams ran the 40 in 4.48 seconds at the combine. He looks more like a 4.4 runner on film, possibly because he is an efficient back that doesn't waste a lot of time in the backfield. Williams has a 35" vertical, he benched 225 pounds 17 times and ran the three-cone in 7.15 seconds, which are all good, but not great. He has loose hips to swerve in the open field and a compact stride to help his balance and lateral agility.
Considered a high-character player, Williams was lauded for not making waves when he was stuck behind Turbin and Smith without regular playing time. He has been a versatile player who seems to be a coach's favorite.
Williams ran out of the shotgun formation, and many of his runs were designed to go outside of the tackles. He was also used heavily as a receiver out of the backfield. Williams was an explosive kick returner before he became a full-time running back.
Williams almost always sticks with the run as blocked and designed, which is good to a point. He doesn't usually spot cutback lanes or flaws in the run defense that happen at unexpected spots. He is a straight-line runner who rarely changes direction behind the line of scrimmage.
With good hands as a receiver and the ability to line up as a wide receiver at times, Williams will be very useful in the passing game. He is fast enough to make defenders take bad angles. Williams' discipline following his blocks helps on screen passes, but he's an inconsistent blocker who is too small to hang in that role in the pros.
Between the Tackles
Even though he is a small back, Williams isn't afraid to run hard between the tackles. He still prefers to pick and slide his way through the line instead of running downhill with urgency, and his burst to break inside runs to the corner might not translate to the NFL. Williams is probably best suited to run out of passing formations in the pros.
Williams is a small back, but he's not a scat back. He isn't very sudden or creative behind the line or in the open field, although he does employ sharp, quick cuts to elude tacklers at speed. He dips and swerves in the open field to get the best lane, but most of his tacklers are avoided by sheer speed, rendering their angles useless.
Because Williams runs with good energy, he can break some arm-tackles, but he is too small to push the pile and he rarely breaks tackles or even gets yards after contact by falling forward to taking tacklers for a short ride.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Williams will help in the two-minute and hurry-up offense and perhaps fit in spread-formation plays. He can also return kicks and take some of the load on outside runs in a committee approach.
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