A junior out of North Carolina, running back Javonte Williams was a star at UNC and emerged from the season as PFF’s most highly graded running back for the 2020 season. With his frame of 5’10” and 212 pounds, he fits the bill in terms of a prototypical NFL running back and boasts two back to back seasons with 1,100 or more scrimmage yards.
Outside of Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, Williams feels like like he is set to be one of the most productive running back prospects in this class with the potential of a very high ceiling. Williams’s best trait is undoubtedly his ability to gain yards after contact. He’s a capable receiver, too, finishing the season ranking 13th among NCAA running backs in receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. He’s a tackle-breaking machine with contact balance for days, ranking fourth in yard in the NCAA in yards after contact and first in missed tackles forced.
It’s difficult to find many knocks on Williams, but perhaps his one would be his lack of experience in a full-time role. Sixth in rushing yards in the NCAA in 2020, he did so with only 157 carries — tied for 19th most rushing attempts, along with teammate Michael Carter. Williams and Carter served as a dynamic 1-2 punch over the last two seasons, and because of that, we have yet to see Williams handle more than 183 touches in a single season.
Mock Draft landing spots
Javonte Williams is likely to be drafted as the third running back off the board and feels like a sure-bet for Round 2. There are plenty of teams with need at the running back position with picks in the first-half of the second round. Teams that would make sense in this range could include the Jets, Falcons, Dolphins, Broncos, 49ers or perhaps the Jaguars, if the new organization is looking to put a guy of their own in the drivers seat. If I had to bet, I’d place my money that Williams is headed to the Dolphins where he’ll provide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a dynamic weapon out of the backfield.
Fantasy impact: Rookie year
Williams’ fantasy football impact as a rookie will be mostly dependent on landing spot. However, when you look at what attributes could make him a day-one impact player, he’s a dynamic receiving weapon, capable pass blocker and a tough runner able to withstand yards after contact. Unless he is drafted behind a true stud, Williams has a chance to finish the year as an RB2 with the right team.
Fantasy impact: Career
Williams is one of three running backs that I think has true potential to be a three-down back at the NFL level. He’s got multiple layers to his game and has the lower body strength to make an impact in the NFL. He’s got the potential to be a steady RB2 for fantasy football leagues in the right system.