James Williams has had an interesting path to the draft to say the least. From his somewhat surprising decision to declare for the NFL draft, to Mike Leach’s supposed “bad mouthing” of him on his way out the door, to former NFL player Eric Dickerson in turn “bad mouthing” Mike Leach in exchange. It’s been a busy few months for the former WSU running back.
But now that NFL camps have started, it’s time to focus on football. Williams signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent a few weeks ago, and he made his mini-camp debut earlier this month. The leaves the question: Can Williams make the final cut for the Chiefs?
Our SB Nation brothers at Arrowhead Pride took a closer look at that question in a post on Tuesday, examining how he would fit under Andy Reid’s system, complete with video breakdowns. The full article is worth the read, but we’ll give you a quick summary below.
As you probably know if you’ve seen him in action, the plus for Williams has always been his hands. “Williams has very natural hands for the position,” writes Kent Swanson of Arrowhead Pride. “He is very comfortable catching the ball away from his frame.”
A few plays from James Williams as a pass catcher. Natural ability, comfortable catching the ball away from his frame, good in space. He ran mostly swings, but there's more in there to work with. #LotteryTickets pic.twitter.com/QfJMmW6Y99— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) May 28, 2019
Of course, the biggest negatives in his translation to the NFL is his pass protection. “Williams’ struggles in pass protection are not for lack of understanding, says Swanson. “He’s just not big enough to hold up against NFL defenders blitzing. He struggled against college players. He’d be in the right position but couldn’t get them down with a cut block, which is logically the only chance he’d probably have.”
Assignment: ✅— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) May 28, 2019
Williams has a great feel and understanding of protection/assignment out of the backfield, but he may not be able to hold up physically in protection. #LotteryTickets pic.twitter.com/E2lYbnlirm
So what’s the final verdict?
If the Chiefs want to add more variety to the running back room, Williams has better hands and feel in the passing game than Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams, his competition for the roster. His shortcomings as a runner or pass protector could keep him from the opportunity, but there is a definable quality that could appeal to Andy Reid and his offensive staff.
The full breakdown is below, and it’s well worth the read, if only for the video breakdowns.
Kansas City Chiefs Lottery Tickets: running back James Williams - Arrowhead Pride
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