By: Tanner Elliott
Pooka Williams Jr.
5’10” 170 lbs
Pooka Williams has elite vision and elusiveness. Having both of these is key to his game and makes him very fun to watch. When Williams first gets a hand off, he has the ability to jump cut to make the first defender miss. Not only can Williams read his blockers at the line, but he can also anticipate what they will do downfield. The ability to do this is very rare, and puts Williams in the position to lead defenders into his blockers. Williams is very agile; he just moves with ease, and his ability to just go from left to right is very impressive. During his college career, he wove in and out of traffic, allowing his blockers to do what they needed to do.
Williams is small, and not the strongest player on the field. I know that this may not be a concern to some people, and others may compare his frame to Devonta Smith, but Smith and Williams are different players. Smith is a much better player than Williams, and Williams is a running back, making him more susceptible to tackles from bigger players. In college, Williams had 481 offensive touches and only 16 total touchdowns (nine of those coming in 2018.) This is very concerning, as one expects more production from a player of his type. You expect a player like Williams to be an explosive home run threat, and that hasn’t happened.
Lynn Bowden Jr.
This comparison is a bit interesting but the similarities when the ball is in their hands is very similar. Both players have elite vision and elusiveness, and excel with the ball in their hands. Williams and Bowden have very similar frames, and they have very similar play styles. I do expect Williams to stay at running back instead of making the transition to receiver like Bowden did, but Williams may play some slot in the NFL. Both players have great play-making ability from anywhere on the field, and can get their team a big play when needed. Williams does seem a bit faster than Bowden, which will work to his favor in the NFL, but Bowden was a more versatile and polished player coming out of college.
Predicting where Williams will be picked in the NFL Draft is tricky. He should be an early day three pick, but a team could surprise us and pick him day two. In the NFL, I expect Williams to be a change of pace back, and teams may depend on him for those big explosive plays. He was used on jet sweeps quite a few times in college, so teams may use him more as a gadget player at first and eventually develop him into their second back. If Williams lands with a team that knows how to use him correctly, he could make an impact from day one.