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Pooka Williams Jr. NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Cincinnati Bengals RB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 2, 2021

Kansas' Pooka Williams Jr. (1) runs for a long gain against Texas during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press


HEIGHT:
 5'8 5/8"

WEIGHT: 175


POSITIVES

—Good overall athlete with good balance and tight footwork. Plays with knee bend and a wide base that allows him to stop and start and maintain an athletic position. Consistently makes defenders miss in the open field with his change-of-direction ability.

—Above-average vision and tempo on a variety of run schemes. Understands to be patient on gap schemes with pullers. 

—Plays strong for his size, has some lower-body strength that allows him to fight through arm tackles. Not afraid to take defenders on.

—Above-average speed and can beat defenders to the edge when he looks to work outside. Pulls away from defenders once he gets by them.

—Good hands out of the backfield. Natural catcher of the ball, and that, paired with his feel for space and change-of-direction ability, makes him dynamic on screens.

—Above-average returner ability on kickoffs with production.

NEGATIVES

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—Will look to bounce things too much to use his speed. 

—Poor weight and build for the RB position leads to durability concerns and, paired with inconsistency running between the tackles, will limit his possible role. 

—Will be extremely limited in pass protection because of size and lack of familiarity.

 —In 2018, Williams was arrested and charged with domestic battery, and he later agreed to a diversion agreement and was suspended for one game.

 

2020 STATISTICS

4 G, 51 att., 196 yards, 3.8 avg., 2 TD, 6 rec., 31 yards

OVERALL

Pooka Williams Jr. is a shifty RB who plays bigger than his size but will have durability and role concerns when he enters the NFL. Williams shows good foot quickness and change-of-direction ability throughout his game, consistently playing with a good, athletic base that allows him to stop and start when he’s setting up his blockers and also to make defenders miss in one-on-one situations. He shows good hands out of the backfield and also has some return chops that help add value to his role.

Williams plays with relatively good play strength and toughness but does not consistently run between the tackles and will look to use his athleticism to bounce runs when he doesn’t necessarily need to. He is best on gap schemes that utilize pullers and allow him to stretch defenders before hitting up inside. All of the playstyle negatives with Williams are related to his size, as he lacks the size to hold up in protection and will not be able to sustain repeated touches at the NFL level.

Overall, while Williams brings some dynamic playmaking ability, he will have to be a consistent producer on returns and in the passing game to justify a spot on an NFL roster, as his lack of size limits his ability for an every-down or even a third-down protection-based role.  

GRADE: 6.5/10 (6th-7th Round)

OVERALL RANK: 240/300

POSITION RANK: RB19

PRO COMPARISON: Donnel Pumphrey

Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice

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