Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Trayveon Williams, RB of Texas A&M. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
I will be the first to admit I was not as high on Trayveon Williams as others throughout his college career. He was productive each year at Texas A&M but I doubted how his small frame would hold up in the NFL.
However, his combine weight measurement surprised me in a good way and after looking into his profile and tape more, I found metrics and traits I like. While I do not view him as one of the top running backs in this class, I still think there is potential for him to find a solid role in the NFL.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Arriving as a four-star recruit with a .8949 composite score according to 247sports, Williams was productive the moment he stepped on the football field for the Aggies. Keep in mind this was in the SEC as well. And as you can see above, he caught at least 19 passes in each of his three years; good numbers for a college running back.
He produced at an elite level in his junior season. He basically had as many yards and touchdowns in it as he did the previous two combined. For those doubting how his small frame would hold up under a heavy workload, he ran the ball 271 times and caught 27 passes this past year without missing a game. He was actually very durable throughout his entire collegiate career.
I really enjoy watching prospects play against the tougher defenses in college football – it is one of the best comparisons we have to an actual NFL defense. I am not saying college defenses are as good as the ones in the NFL, but they are the best we have to measure against while the player is still in school.
In the video above, Williams and the rest of the Texas A&M offense took on the vaunted Alabama defense. I remember watching this game during last year’s college football season, but after re-watching cut-ups of Williams here, I came away with the following observations:
- He did a good job pass blocking, especially for someone his size. He chips and blocks defenders long enough to give his quarterback enough time and space to throw the ball. With quarterback Kellen Mond being so mobile, Williams was even asked to be a lead blocker on some designed runs.
- He does not shy away from contact. However, at the same time, he is not going to run over anyone at the line of scrimmage. It is not his game. Although he weighed in heavier than I expected him to at the combine, he is still on the smaller side. This was increasingly evident when he went up against Quinnen Williams and the Alabama defense and he can expect to face that same type of size every game he plays in the NFL.
- Texas A&M only gave Williams eight carries. A big reason for this was they were trailing for nearly the entire game. Their offensive line also had trouble blocking Alabama defenders on a majority of plays. When Williams did touch the ball, he was often met near or behind the line of scrimmage.
- On the few plays Williams did find room to run, he showcased good speed to beat defenders to the edge and turn upfield.
The video above does a better job at depicting what Williams can do with the ball in his hands since his offensive line was not overwhelmed against UCLA like they were against Alabama. UCLA’s rushing defense has been a weakness for them lately so this does not correlate to the level of competition Williams will face in the NFL, but I was more focused on finding traits Williams flashed and what he could do. Below is what I found:
- He still does not run over many defenders, but he does a good job of dragging arm tacklers in the secondary for a few extra yards.
- He showcases nice footwork and stutter steps as he waits for blocks to develop.
- Just as he had against Alabama, he has good speed to get to the edges of the field.
- He excels on stretch plays and counters where he makes one cut and turns upfield. He had a lot of long runs against UCLA and throughout his college career courtesy of these types of plays.
The way Williams is able to make quick cuts and stutter steps and turn plays upfield reminds me of the way Phillip Lindsay found success in his rookie season. Both are not afraid to take on contact either. While Lindsay has more long speed, Williams has more size. Lindsay was electric in his rookie season but his small frame is worrisome for his career longevity and he already missed time during his rookie year. Williams has a good 15 pounds on him and will likely have much better draft capital invested in him as well.
If you are interested in watching some additional videos of Trayveon Williams, check out his NFL Draft Prospect Video page.
Although Williams weighed in heavier than expected, the rest of his combine measurements were generally underwhelming. He did not have any measurement that stuck out in a good way. His 40-yard dash and broad jump scores were decent, scoring in the 66th and 71st percentiles respectively.
The two measurements which stood out the most were his three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times, but not in a good way. They were both in the bottom-15th percentile and were surprising for a smaller back.
Taking a look at his comparisons, there are some decent names on the list, including Elijah McGuire, Duke Johnson, and Devonta Freeman. Freeman benefitted from the Kyle Shanahan system early in his career and has still looked good the past couple of years when he is on the field. Duke Johnson is one of the most talented receiving backs in the NFL and does well running the ball as well. McGuire looked decent in spurts the past couple years but will likely find it difficult to see the field with Le’Veon Bell in town.
According to DLF’s 2019 March rookie ADP, Williams sits as the 20th rookie with an ADP of 20.00. This is a great range to select a running back who I believe has a good chance to be chosen on day two of the NFL draft. I actually have him a little higher in my personal rankings but could see him falling to this range when actual rookie drafts happen.
According to March superflex startup ADP, Williams is 173rd with an ADP of 179.00. Running backs being selected near this range include LeSean McCoy, Carlos Hyde, Kalen Ballage, and Jalen Richard. I prefer Williams to most of these backs and other positions in this range.
Trayveon Williams seems like one of the better values in rookie drafts this year, especially if he hears his name called on day two of the NFL draft. For those who enjoy picking running backs later in drafts, expect Williams to be one of your targets. While I do not envision him ever being a three-down running back, I could see him carving out a nice role as part of a backfield committee. A late second round or early third round rookie pick in a down class is a good price to pay for that.
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