NAME: Dexter Williams
SCHOOL: Notre Dame
POSITION: Running Back
JERSEY: No. 2
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 203 lbs
Vision/Patience – If it’s blocked for him, he usually gets it (he also usually doesn’t get anything beyond that, but I digress). Has good vision and hits the hole at proper angles to distance himself from tacklers. Good patience and timing as a runner, following pullers and working off of their blocks. Showed the ability to pull second level defenders out of their gaps with footwork and then cut back against them. Most of his best runs came due to craters up front, so fair to wonder how his vision will be when the creases narrow.
Burst – Some flashes of quick feet through the hole, but burst is typically adequate at best. Lacks the ability to make one cut and get to top speed quickly, which allows defenders to snag him in the hole before he can clear traffic. Once he gets into the open field, looks like he can hit a little bit of a second gear to pull away. Hasn’t shown the ability to hit a crease and burst through it.
Contact Balance – Constantly brought down by first contact, regardless of where the defender initiated the blow. Arm tackles, low tackles, high tackles, all of them typically felled Williams relatively quickly. Flashed the ability to churn his legs and pick up yards when a defender jumped on his back from behind, but rarely broke through even lighter contact head on. Runs upright and exposes surface area for opponents. For all the long TD runs he had this year, not sure he was touched on any of them.
Receiving – 19 career catches for 133 yards and two scores over parts of three seasons. Routes out of the backfield were sloppy and not precise. Will need work if he is going to be featured in a more diverse fashion as a receiver in the NFL. Does not show much open field ability despite imposing build and decent athleticism.
C.O.D./Agility – Rarely makes anyone miss in the open field and shows a startling lack of creativity when he does make his way to space. Does make subtle adjustments in the clear to angle his path away from oncoming safeties, but won’t juke anyone out and doesn’t show desirable elusiveness. Nothing about his game suggests finding a way to get him touches in a variety of ways should be a priority.
Speed – Some sneaky late acceleration will keep you on your toes. Probably not going to run better than 4.5s, but he does a great job of angling away from tacklers and being aware of where defenders are coming from in breakaway situations. Lot of home runs this season.
Competitive Toughness – Flashes the desire to get involved physically in the pass protection game. Not a violent runner by any means, but has no qualms about contact and will bang it inside without hesitation when the time comes.
Ball Security – One fumble in 260 career touches. Sample size is relatively small, but no reason to believe fumbling is a concern.
Pass Protection – Willingness and size are there, but inexperience and execution are issues. Seemed confused about where to go at times and technique varied from throwing shoulders to overextending into contact. Will need significant work in this area, but does show potential with his stacked build and desire to stand in against blitzers.
Athleticism/Size – Outstanding build and frame for a running back, just doesn’t play to the power he appears to possess. Looks chiseled out of granite. Adequate athlete without great short-area agility and explosiveness.
BEST TRAIT – Vision/Decision-Making
WORST TRAIT – Contact Balance
RED FLAGS – Arrest in 2016 for possession of marijuana and possessing a handgun with no license. Suspended four games for an unspecified violation of team rules to open the 2018 season.
A smart runner who reads blocks well and rarely misses his gap, Williams’ best traits are his vision and patience as a runner, allowing him to consistently get every inch that is blocked for him. The problem? He does almost nothing outside of structure, rarely breaking a tackle or showing any elusiveness in the open field. Williams’ lack of impact as a receiver and pass protector have him looking at a rotational role early in his career, but in the right situation with a strong offensive line, he could be a productive back at the next level. Unfortunately there is a long list of running backs that fit that description, and nothing about Williams’ skill set suggests he’ll be uniquely impactful enough to be worth a high pick.