After going undrafted, Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Pooka Williams is making a strong impression on his coaching staff. Williams is already being deployed in a number of different ways during the team’s OTAs this spring. If he keeps up the good work, it looks like he could carve out a role on special teams as a rookie.
Pooka Williams Showcasing Versatility in Bengals Training Camp
Spring football is a great chance for rookies to make a name for themselves amongst their peers. Especially for undrafted free agents like Pooka Williams, it’s a chance to differentiate themselves amongst their teammates. The former Kansas Jayhawk running back is fighting for a roster spot in Cincinnati. Currently, it appears like he’s already improved his odds.
Seemingly, Williams is making a strong impression on acclaimed special teams coach Darrin Simmons. Bengals team writer and insider Geoff Hobson wrote, “Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons continues to hunt for a punt returner among undrafted rookies Pooka Williams Jr. and Riley Lees, and veteran Trent Taylor. Williams is getting more and more comfortable catching punts for the first time in his life and is gaining confidence by the day in a roster joust that probably won’t be decided until the pre-season finale.”
Following the departure of longtime Bengals punt returner Alex Erickson, the team is looking for someone to fill the role. Initially, it appeared recently signed free agent Trent Taylor had the upper hand. However, it appears that Williams, alongside fellow undrafted free agent Riley Lees, is pushing ahead. Maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise. After all, as a kick returner at Kansas, Williams averaged 28.1 yards and scored a touchdown in 2020. Further, with Williams lining up in wide receiver packages with the Bengals, it already seems that the team is finding more ways for him to contribute. His versatility would be a welcome addition to the Bengals current depth chart.
Running back Pooka Williams going through receiver drills during this session of practice. #bengals
— Keenan Singleton (@KJMSingleton) June 8, 2021
Williams is still an underdog to make the roster. Regardless, teams are always looking for more skilled players and speed in their offensive sets. Tabbing a 4.46 40-yard dash time at his pro day, Williams has some burner speed that could look good in Cincinnati’s offense.
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