Ryan Williams Profile
College: Virginia Tech
Height, Weight: 5’9″, 212 lbs.
40 Time (10 Yard): 4.59 (1.53)
Projected Round: 2-3
NFL Comparison: DeAngelo Williams
My Take: Williams rushed for almost 1,700 yards in his first season at VT. 2010 was not as kind to Willams, as he was hampered by injuries much of the year, and saw a marked decline in his production. He has since fallen out of first round consideration. Also contributing to his falling draft stock is a poor showing at the combine. Not only was his 40 time slower than scouts expected, but he also measured in shorter than some would have liked. Still, there’s a lot to like about Ryan Williams, and we shouldn’t get too carried away with a 40 time, when there is an entire season of tape on the guy that says he can play.
Probably Williams’ greatest strength as a runner is his acceleration. He’s able to get to his top end speed quickly, and is very good at getting to the edge and turning the corner while still accelerating. His ability to do this also stems from good balance and a fluid running style that allow him to get in and out of cuts with ease. He shows good vision and patience as a runner, and when he sees the hole, his acceleration allows him to hit it hard. Williams finishes all of his runs. He may not be 230 pounds, but he still has a tendency of falling forward when being tackled to get an extra yard or two. He’s a pretty complete runner and can be effective both up the middle or on the edge. Williams would be strongly suited for a zone blocking system that uses the stretch play a lot, because he has the acceleration to get to the edge on the stretch, the agility and burst to cut the run back at any time, and the vision to see running lanes devleop. Williams shows good vision when choosing the hole, as well as at the next level looking for cut back lanes. He doesn’t lose much if any of his speed while he makes a cut in open field, so if a defender is fooled, Williams could go a long way. He also offers some ability as a pass catcher out of the backfield on screen plays where he is able to get the ball in open space. The Hokie star still needs some work however, and could definitely stand to improve as a blocker, as well as with ball security.
I really like everything I see in Ryan Williams. Acceleration, vision, balance, patience, and a guy who finishes his runs. It’s a shame that he couldn’t play much in 2010, because if he could have replicated his 2009 production, he would have definitely been a first round pick. As long as he can stay healthy, he’ll be a very effective runner at the next level. Because he redshirted his freshman year and was hurt in 2010, Williams only has around 400 carries to his name, so his legs will still be fresh for years to come. Although the 40 time was lackluster, the acceleration was still present in that 10 yard split time. Williams isn’t a guy with great top end speed, but if you put in the tape, you’ll see he doesn’t need it to be effective. NFL scouts know that, and I wouldn’t expect him to get out of the second round. Williams could be a nice value to a team in need of a running back in the second round, because his 2009 tape is certainly more indicative of a first round talent. The Patriots, Giants, and Saints are all possible suitors for Williams, but don’t be surprised if a zone-blocking team like Indy goes BPA on Williams in the second round.