[#FilmWithFive] Prospect Preview: RB Jamaal Williams

If you’ve been following me for the past year or two, you know my opinion on Latavius Murray.

It’s time to let go, and it appears that’s the road the Oakland front office is ready to walk down, as well:

Whenever I’ve spelled out my feelings in 140-character format, or shared my love for other (more viable) running backs, those thoughts and opinions have been met with some disdain. The fans that find their way into my mentions constantly remind me of this team’s need for a “big back”, for better or worse. They want that “thunder and lightning” out of the backfield I suppose.

While I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment – I tend to gravitate toward talent, no matter the packaging it arrives in – I am more than happy to give my pals what they want.

Enter Jamaal Williams.

Turning 22 in April, Jamaal Williams doesn’t necessarily carry the weight of a “big back” but he certainly moves and plays like one. At 6’1″, 220, Williams (thunder) might be the answer Oakland has been looking for, even more so with players like Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington (lightning) already in place. Jamaal Williams runs violent, and he runs in that manner for all four quarters.

Williams’ power and strength can be his undoing at times, however. He tends to rely on his power, and lacks the necessary (consistent) vision and patience in order to decipher and pick the proper running lanes. The result is frustrating, as he ends up plowing into his own blockers more often than we’d like.

Despite the vision concerns, and some general up-and-down play, you’re getting a back who puts all his weight behind his pads. You’re not turning off a game and questioning his toughness, or how hard he played. Jamaal Williams is capable of wearing down a defense (a true, three-down back in that regard), but posses some nifty footwork that allows him to create something more.

Power and Strength

First and foremost, let’s get a preview of that power and “big back”-type strength that everyone appears to be looking for nowadays.

This first example is one of my favorites, as it really describes “who” Jamaal Williams is as a runner. The result of the play isn’t positive yardage, but I keep looping it as I watch four or five defenders finally bring him down.

Working through the mess for a small gain, bouncing off defenders. I’m okay with these runs. These are the types of plays this Raiders’ team has had trouble finding consistently. Obviously, they’re not splashy, but you string enough together and the defense eventually breaks.

I count, what, another three or four defenders who had a shot at Williams on his way to the goal line? Strength, balance, (and if we want to get real corny and coach-speaky about it) determination.

Again, up the middle like a bully. We’ll chat about it in a bit, but this is where you can “ding” Williams if you’d like. The bully-type runs are a welcome addition for the most part, but there are some runs (like the one below, perhaps) where it looks like he’s not even looking ahead of him, and just lowering his head and hoping for the best – which we alluded to above. That’s where the frustration sets in, because he’s obviously capable of more; just something to note and work on at the next level.

Goal line effort:

A little power off the little, subtle stutter:

Back to the goal line, knocking it in:

All power and effort here, with the impressive leg-drive. Another “this is who he is” play, I think.

One more run up the middle, showing off the balance this time as well:

“One-Cut” Running Style

With Jamaal Williams, you’re getting a violent, one-cut runner capable of taking it the distance at any given time. Now, while he doesn’t have that Latavius Murray long-speed, he is effective; a smooth runner, able to make the most of his strides once he gets moving.

As we were saying…

Nearly punches it in here, but that speed works against him in this instance. No matter, big play nonetheless.

Balance and Burst

For a back “his size”, he shows effective burst. What’s more, is his balance. That goes back to his build though, obviously. He’s rocked up, and sports and sturdy lower-half which is evident throughout.

One-cut, burst, and gone:

Quickness, and the big man has balance, as well:

More balance through the hole…


Again, Williams doesn’t have track speed, or long-speed, as we talked about earlier. But he’s a sudden athlete, and consistently shows the ability to out-run defenders to the edge.

Those cuts, and his agility, comes back to how good his feet are.

Something out of nothing:

Arm-tackles aren’t welcomed here:


Picking on Latavius Murra again (sorry): this is probably the area where Jamaal Williams is head-and-shoulders the standout back. While Williams is not a constant threat in the open field, his feet are above-average, especially for a runner built like he is. He makes it work, and his production during his time at BYU is a testament to that.

Working behind the line of scrimmage…

Showing off some nuance here; very subtle footwork (stutter-step) allows for added yards.

I’m very interested to see how Williams tests in Indianapolis. I’ve gone back and forth on him quite a bit at this point so obviously, a solid showing at the Combine will only add to his profile for me. Coming in, he was a player that I had ranked somewhere in the mid-second round, or so. Upon further viewing, and finishing up this piece, I’ve slid him down a bit more.

Williams is a target regardless, and I much prefer him to a player like D’Onta Foreman, another “big back” many are projecting to teams like Oakland who struggle in that department. Going into the draft, and pre-Combine at the time of this writing, Jamaal Williams would be a great way to end things on Day 2 for the Raiders.

Want more Jamaal Williams? How about listening to Jamaal Williams on Jamaal Williams:


Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive