2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Boston College RB Andre Williams

By Alex Kozora

With the regular season over, our focus has shifted to the offseason. For the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on prospects. Some the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at. Other top players that will be off the board before the Steelers select. All to make you as prepared for the 2014 NFL Draft as possible.

Our first running back evaluation. Boston College running back Andre Williams.

Andre Williams/RB Boston College: 6’0 227

The Good

– Decent size, certainly not tiny and has muscle, big legs

– Downhill runner who doesn’t try to dance

– Consequently, rarely taken down for a loss

– Capable of getting skinny through the hole

– Strong lower body and can run through some arm tackles

– Overall, able to fall forward on contact to gain an extra yard or two

– Extremely productive senior season

– Only one season of carrying the load

– Pretty good amount of starting experience

The Bad

– Lacks any defining quality

– Rarely flashes much of an initial burst

– Does not have a second gear, one speed runner

– Won’t make many miss in the open field

– Little wiggle

– Will sometimes turn his back to the defender, won’t always lead with shoulder, making it difficult for him to fall forward

– Average pass blocker

– Little use out of the backfield

– Only one season of substantial production

Other

– 28 career starts

– 355/2177/18 rushing line senior season

– 5th most rushing yards in a single season at the FBS level

– Rushed for 200+ yards five times including a season high of 339 vs NC State

– Heisman finalist, finished 4th in the voting

– 2013 Doak Walker Award for nation’s best running back

– First Team AP All-American

– First Team All-ACC

– Missed three games in 2012 due to abdominal injury

– Tiny bit of return work, returned eight kicks his freshman season

– Only 10 career receptions at Boston College

– Did not rush for more than 584 yards or four TDs in any other season

Williams had an amazing senior campaign. But his skillset does not seem to translate to the next level.  Granted, I’ll admit I did not watch some of his biggest game statistically but still studied two “good” games (28/149 vs Florida State, 33/166/2 vs Virginia Tech) against better opponents.

The first negative I listed for Williams really says it all. There just isn’t anything special about his game. He’s a little better than a Shonn Greene type plodder but only marginally so. Really just get what is blocked. And the Boston College offensive scheme is Power O and Counter OF heavy, creating large running lanes.

First run against the Hokies. Big hole that lets Williams build up speed but he goes down relatively easy when the DB takes out his legs.

And an example of him turning his body instead of lowering his shoulder. Much less powerful and makes him a bigger target. Goes down easily.

On the whole, Williams does run hard and will lead with his shoulder. But he needs to reinforce that habit.

Occasionally, he will show a burst and make a quick cut. Liked this run against Florida St.

Boston College did run a ton of counters that made it slightly more difficult for Williams to get up to speed. But when I ask myself what he does well, nothing really comes up. Not a quick cutter. Average speed. Tiny bit of wiggle. Sure, he gets downhill but that only gets a back so far. Have to have a special quality to succeed at the next level.

Williams has pigeon-holed himself as just a pure runner. In the two games I watched, he didn’t receiver a single target and rarely was asked to run a route. He failed to catch a single pass his senior season and as noted, just ten catches in college. Four his senior year of high school. Boston College ran a conservative offense but you’d expect at least a few passes see the running back’s way. As an average pass blocker who didn’t do anything out of the backfield, he’s going to struggle to play all three downs.

He isn’t terrible. He isn’t particularly good, either. He’s just there, plugging away. The Steelers will likely look for a running back in the mid rounds but I prefer someone with more upside and a definitive quality. Williams doesn’t fit that bill.

Projection: 4th-5th round

Games Watched: vs Florida St, vs Virginia Tech

Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
ILB Shayne Skov
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner

Senior in college, blogging from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • RW

    Meh, no need for another one gear runner on the team.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Clearly the Steelers are looking for more of a speedster type RB by the 4th-5th round. Hopefully one with the added skills of being a return man (whether we do or don’t bring back LSH).

  • CW

    Personally I like James White as a traditional 3rd down option if he falls into the late 5th mid 6th round range, assuming a compensatory 5th Round pick or Storm Johnson late in the draft.

    White is small but quick with good vision.

    Johnson is smaller than Bell, but bigger than the average 3rd down back with good receiving skills and better than average yards after contact. Could make for an impressive 1-2 punch at running back with Bell since both are able to catch and run as well as rush effectively against tough defenses. Thinking two back pony offense with Big Ben having the option to either throw to an open receiver or hand off the ball or throw to an outlet running back if the play starts breaking down with the other running back blocking the pass rusher.

  • grw1960

    Storm, could be one of the ones to watch. Liked what I saw of him in his last college game.

  • DrakePirate

    exactly … only RB we currently need is a slash/change of pace/ big play type ! Dwyer is fine for short yardage and has the ability to be the main back for a game or 2 if Bell is out !

  • falconsaftey43

    Alex, any plans to do a profile of Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB Georgia Tech? Seems like a great 3-4 pass rusher, but isn’t getting a lot of mention as a 1st rounder. Can’t help but see a little james Harrison in him when watching film. Not sure what the flaw in his game is that’s keeping him out of the spot light.

  • Alex Kozora

    Haven’t seen him yet but I can do one at some point.