While the NFL Draft is full of budding superstars, there are always skilled college players that did not play at the best schools or were apart of committees that go onto success at the next level. This brings me to Florida State’s runner Karlos Williams. While he did not get a lion’s share of the Seminole carries, the back was productive as I saw in his games against NC State, Miami, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho, and Duke. I think he could have some success at the next level, perhaps in a LeGarrette Blount-ish role. Here are my thoughts:
RB Karlos Williams, Florida State, 6’ 1” 230 lbs.
Cons: This first thing I noticed is that he doesn’t create space on his own. He runs a bit high and lets defenders get into his body too often, taking away his power. Williams is a better outside the tackles runner than an inside force. There were a few times he tried to get cute by reversing his field and turned his back to the defense. That type of style didn’t work well for former Steeler/Cardinal Rashard Mendenhall and I doubt Williams has the quicks to pull it off either. He shows a decent effort in pass blocking, but needs to work on his technique by getting low and sinking his hips before making contact with pass rushers.
Pros: The runner has quick feet and good balance, using his open hips to change directions easily for a man his size. He moves almost as fast laterally as he does north and south (4.48 40 yard dash time) while using spin moves, jump cuts, and juke moves to get away from would-be tacklers. Williams has decent upper body strength and can use stiff-arms or just swats defenders out of his way. The back is a good cut back runner who excels when running counters or delays. He has above average vision, always keeps his feet chopping, and makes sure he falls forward for extra yardage. When the runner gets into the open field, he finds his second gear and can make defenders trying to arm tackle him miss.
As a receiver out of the backfield, Williams gets into the flat in a hurry. He has soft hands and makes receptions in stride. On occasion, the runner can take a direct snap and follow blockers into the end zone on special goal line packages. Despite all of these skills, I do not envision him as 25 touches kind of back.
Overall thoughts: Williams reminds me a lot of LeGarrette Blount, who also can take over a few games, but does not have the consistency or effort to be a true feature back. The rookie runner could be the head of a committee, but will most likely continue to be a role player at the next level. The back is worth grabbing in later rounds as he could find himself a starting position for a month or two this season.