2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | Ryan Williams
Coming off of a dynamite redshirt freshman season that saw him rush 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns, Virginia Tech’s Ryan Williams was a bit of a disappointment in 2010.
He was slowed by nagging injuries all season long, and finished with just 477 yards on 110 carries with nine touchdowns. While the 20-year-old may have been best served to stay in school and try to revive his draft stock a bit, he instead opted to test the waters of this year’s draft. There’s no doubting his talent, but Williams has his fair share of other question marks as he takes his game to the next level.
How does his 2011 NFL Draft stock look as the combine draws near?
Player Name: Ryan Williams
Position: Running Back
School: Virginia Tech
Ryan Williams’ best attribute may be his field vision. He seems to have the innate ability to see things developing in front of him before they actually happen, and it shows in his running style. He has better speed than you might think, especially for a physical, north-south runner. He runs with a nose for the end zone, and has great strength and balance that allow him to continue to push forward following contact. Williams also has a knack for holding onto the football, as he did not fumble the ball at all during his extremely productive 2009 campaign. He has very good speed and athleticism, but also has the toughness to fight through tackles. While he does typically run with that north-south mentality, he has the vision and speed to get around the edge and make things happen on the outside, as well. His 293 rushing attempts in 2009 was the fifth-most in the nation, which shows he’s capable of being an every-down back and carrying the load offensively. Williams has a reputation as a hard-worker and a high-character guy, and has what it takes to eventually develop into a leader as a pro.
As mentioned above, injuries derailed his production as a sophomore, which raises injury concerns. He may need to add some weight and strength to his 202-pound frame in order to take the hits that come with being a featured back at the NFL level. He’s shown potential as a receiver out of the backfield, but wasn’t often utilized in that role at Virginia Tech. He redshirted in order to improve upon his pass protection skills, but there is still much to be desired in that area of his game. While he did miss four games with injuries this past season, his productivity as a whole was lacking, and he didn’t show the same explosiveness that he did during his freshman season. Williams may struggle to truly separate himself from other prospects at the combine, considering he won’t blow anybody away with his physical traits.
This draft class doesn’t include the strongest crop of running backs, so there is still a very good chance for Williams to be taken fairly high on potential alone. His brilliant freshman season may help get him selected as high as the second round, provided he can show that he’s healthy enough to contribute soon in the NFL. His maturity and intangibles should be impressive to NFL teams during the interview process, as well. Given the two-back style offenses and the number of injuries we’re seeing everywhere in today’s NFL, there is always a need for depth at the position. Williams’ production in the past speaks for itself, and he’s likely to be drafted anywhere between the second and fourth rounds of this draft.
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