Scouting Report: UNC RB Javonte Williams 5’10” 220
40 time: 4.58 (NBC Sports)
Film Reviewed: (2020) Virginia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Boston College (and all highlights from the season)
Explosive compact physical runner with burst, acceleration, balance and great hands out of the backfield. Sports-car type runner. Dynamic. Football speed is a lot faster looking on film than timed 40 speed. Determined. Runs with purpose. Perseveres. Williams is a dual-role legitimate threat every time he touches the football. Adds that dimension to play-action and misdirection. Really helps sell it. Runs to daylight. He really wants the end zone. In the mold of Aaron Jones (GB) and has some Walter Payton in him (in terms of physicality).
He ran out of a single-back set at North Carolina. Has legitimate burst and acceleration. Hits holes fast. Darts through the line of scrimmage (7.3 yard-per-carry average in 2020 espn.com). Explodes into the second level. Does show some patience, but tends to get going in a hurry. Does not waste time. Good instincts. Good vision. Hits holes hard. Hammers the line of scrimmage. Tough to bring down. Stays on his feet. Thrives on contact. Able to break arm-tackles. Takes a real effort to bring him down. Good second effort runner. Keeps running until the defense stops him. Has spin move and stiff-arm. Can also hurdle defenders. Good running techniques. Good long-range speed. Can run away from a defense.
A real threat as an outside runner. Hits the edge quickly. Can either bounce it outside or take a pitch. Has pure football speed and acceleration. Runs like a sports car outside. You can see him hit that second gear. Takes off. Once he is in the open-field – lookout. Does not look to go out of bounds. In fact, Williams has a tendency to cut it back inside and dish it out on defenders. Reminds me of Walter Payton in that way. Gives defenders all they can handle. Dishes out some devastating shots on defensive backs.
Williams stayed in to block a fair share of the time at North Carolina. Selfless. Gives himself up and does what he can to block and pick up blitzes. More than willing to stick his nose in there. Sometimes limited due to size when seriously challenged, but there is no back down in him. Tough.
A real threat catching the ball out of the backfield. Much more than a safety valve. Dependable on screens. Legitimate home-run threat as a receiver. Catches with his hands. Shows a lot of confidence in his hands. Plucks the ball and goes. Can get up the sidelines. Can catch one over the middle and take it to the house (like he did against Boston College). Caught it and he was gone.
UNC RB Javonte Williams is an impressive back who has first-round talent. He is a true difference maker. He is a game-changing back. I can see a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers taking him at 24. My pick for Rookie of the Year. He is the type of runner who could run the Steelers straight into the playoffs. I like the fact he put together two consecutive productive seasons at North Carolina (2020: 157 carries/1,140 yards/Long 65/7.3 avg/19 TD/25 rec/305 yards/12.2 avg/3 TD/Long 40 and 2019 166 carries/933 yards/5.6 avg/5 TD/17 rec/176/10.4 avg/1 TD/Long 26). Zero fumbles in his three year college career. Grew up in a very small town of 3,000. Loved football growing up. Watched college football with his dad on Saturday. Played linebacker in high school (averaged 16 tackles a game his junior season). Runs the ball with a linebacker’s mentality. Attacking as a runner. You can see it come out of him. High-school team won the state championship all four years he played. Education and his faith are very important to him. Graduated from high-school with a 4.6 GPA (class valedictorian). Williams almost did not play college football because after sending out his highlight tape all over the country he had no takers, but he persevered and ended up where he dreamed of playing. Runs like football is important to him and runs like he wants to win. Tenacious runner. Here is his Background story.
Where would I draft UNC RB Javonte Williams?
Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: 1st Round (15-32). Williams on my board. Difference Maker. Moves the meter. I love the way he runs the ball. He is exactly the kind of running back I want starting on my team.
Probability of being a bust: Low
If I were a GM, this is the one question I would need answered in my mind about Javonte Williams: You accomplished your childhood dream of playing at North Carolina, what is your dream now?
My top concern about UNC RB Javonte Williams:
- If he can hold up from injuries with his punishing running style.
How NFL defenses will stop him: I do not think a defense can stop him because he is too talented. However, it is possible to limit him if you keep him running inside the tackles and clamp down on the edges. He does most of his damage bouncing it to the outside and taking pitches outside. Watch out for him as a receiver out of the backfield. He can destroy a defense catching the ball on screens and routes further downfield. Scheme to cover him.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.