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Joe Williams, RB: A True Wildcard In This RB Class

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2017 Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Williams, RB
School: Utah | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 210 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th or 6th Round
NFL Comparison: Duke Johnson

College Statistics

Player Overview

Joe Williams is a pretty interesting player to study. He flashes great athletic talent with his speed, agility, power, and elusiveness. Yet despite his obvious physical talent, there are major questions as to if Williams really loves the game. Williams was initially a UConn Husky. He was kicked out of the program for using a stolen credit card to buy an expensive backpack. Williams then played for Brooklyn ASA College, a small city college in NYC before he blew the competition away there and was recruited by Utah. After his first year at Utah playing second fiddle to Devonte Booker he “retired” two weeks into his second season there. He cited stress and physical being too much as the reason. Due to injuries at the position, Williams was asked by coaches to come back and boy did it pay off for both the Utes and Williams. He had the best season of his very short career and put up some solid production. The off the field circumstances will certainly push Williams down the boards of most teams but there is no denying he is a physical talent capable of being a lead back if his will and passion are there.


  • Excellent athlete. He has the speed and acceleration to leave the competition in the dust. Has great burst and is elusiveness. He has good footwork that allows him to shift direction in close quarters.
  • His frame is well built and he doesn't skip leg day. He plays with leverage and balance and can stay upright where other backs go down. Feet are always moving and he uses his lower body to convert speed to power and takes defenders on a ride.
  • Ability to make defenders miss. Lateral ability and shiftiness work to his advantage behind the LOS and in the open field.
  • Tough player. Will lower head to deliver punishment and is a willing blocker in pass protection.


  • Outstanding questions about his experience, passion, background, and love for the game.
  • Not much of a threat in the receiving game while at Utah.
  • Ball security issues arise from a lackadaisical grip. Fumbled five times this past season and lost all five.

Let’s see his work:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

Joe Williams is a wildcard. This guy could go on and have a productive NFL career for the next 6-8 years or he could quit after his first season. It seems a lot of his past issues are will and passion oriented. I’m not really interested in players that aren’t sure they want to play in the NFL and that certainly is a concern that Williams will have to address with NFL front offices and coaches. There is no doubt the physical talent is there. Not only does he have the ability to take it to the house but he can create space and can turn into a busier when he wants to. I was impressed by his second and third gear and also his ability in open space to shake defenders. He’s a strong back too who can power through the opposition. He has the potential to secure a lead back role if that's what he wants.

If the Redskins take Williams I’ll have mixed feelings but I’ll hope for the best. The best case scenario would be for Williams to compliment Rob Kelley at least initially and especially until he fixed his ball security issue. He has the potential to win the starting job eventually because of his more explosive and dynamic running style. Another knock on Williams is that he doesn’t offer three down back potential with his lack of receiving threat ability. He can overcome that concern as soon as he breaks off a couple of 40-yard runs. He’s a bit polarizing to me. If he came without all his baggage I would peg him as a player worthy of a third round pick in this deep running back class. If he still isn't sure he wants to play football I hope the Redskins stay away.