Jonathan Williams projects as mid-round pick in 2016
Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams chose to return to school this year instead of declaring for last May’s NFL draft, but a foot injury is going to keep him out for his senior season. In all likelihood, Williams will now head to the NFL draft next spring. So how does he stack up as a draft prospect?
Williams had a run grade of +12.2 in 2014, which ranked 12th in the nation and would have been third among last year’s draft class. He forced a missed tackle once every 3.2 rush attempts — the most frequent rate in the nation. He put on a particularly impressive display against Texas Tech where he racked up 15 missed tackles on 22 carries and found the end zone four times.
However, Williams wasn’t consistent throughout the year as he put up big games against out of conference opponents but struggled down the stretch as he faced SEC defenses week after week. In eight games against SEC opponents, Williams had a -1.4 run grade on 129 carries with 33 missed tackles and three fumbles. In five games against non-SEC opponents, he had 89 carries with 32 missed tackles and a +13.6 run grade.
Williams remains an intriguing prospect based on the talent and performance he has displayed. But having not fared as well against tougher opposition — coupled with not playing a meaningful game in roughly 16 months by the time of the draft — it is tough to see value beyond a mid-round pick at best.