Pooka Williams 2021 NFL Draft Overview
Position: Running Back
Weight: 175 pounds
Pooka Williams 2021 NFL Draft Profile
After three years with Kansas, running back Pooka Williams decided to skip his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. The running back chose an interesting time to do this, as 2020 was easily the worst year of his collegiate tenure. Throughout the course of the season, Williams recorded just 202 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 50 attempts to go along with six receptions for 31 receiving yards.
Williams initially entered the college world as a four-star recruit and immediately set the college football world on fire. Taking over the starting job as a freshman, the running back finished the season with 1,145 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 161 attempts while adding 32 receptions for 288 yards on 39 targets.
Unfortunately, Williams was never able to recapture his freshman greatness. After receiving a suspension for domestic violence, Williams returned to the field for the 2019 season and put together a good-but-not-great season. In total, he recorded 1,043 yards on 202 attempts to go along with 27 receptions for 214 yards.
- Incrediby shifty player capable of creating yards on his own;
- Decent receiving potential despite lack of production;
- Strong runner, capable of breaking a tackle or two using force alone;
- Fantastic outside runner;
- Ridiculously quick out of cuts – hard to catch in the open field;
- Could easily turn into one of the NFL’s better kick returners.
- Will need to add on quite a bit of mass if he’s ever to be an every-down player;
- Faced a domestic violence charge after his freshman season;
- Too small to pick up NFL blitzers;
- Loses just as many yards as he creates by blatantly ignoring blocking patterns;
- Peaked as a freshman and progressively got worse throughout his college career.
NFL Comparison: Ray Rice
Teams With Need At Position: Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets
Projection: 6th/7th Round
Bottom Line on Pooka Williams
Running backs are a dime a dozen in today’s NFL, and there really isn’t anything that makes Pooka Williams stand out from the crowd. He’s not a bad player, and definitely deserves a shot in the NFL. He has fantastic home run ability and is nearly impossible for one player to take down in space. If schemed into the open field, he always has a chance to make something amazing happen. Additionally, while he doesn’t have the biggest pass-catching numbers, he looks pretty natural as a receiver and could turn into a decent third-down back or slot option.
The biggest on-field issue with Williams is his size, or lack thereof. 5’-9” and 175 pounds just isn’t going to cut it at the NFL level, as he probably lacks the frame to handle a full workload and definitely lacks the build to survive in pass protection. As a runner, his highly volatile style of running leads to just as many bad plays as good, and his continuous decline in quality of play is a massive red flag. As the cherry on top, Williams also has off-field concerns stemming from domestic violence charges after his freshman year.
Pooka Williams is an exciting playmaker, but he probably isn’t an NFL-caliber running back. He certainly deserves a shot to prove people like me wrong, but there are just too many holes to expect anything close to an every-down player. He could stick around as a kick returner, but that’s about it.
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