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Film Room: Trayveon Williams could be the steal of the draft

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Williams can do so much more than what his size may indicate.

Mississippi v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Many were surprised to see Trayveon Williams slip as late in the NFL Draft as he did. He is a complete back who can contribute as a runner, blocker, and receiver, and his film is littered with chunk plays that showcase his speed, agility, and strength.

From the looks of his 2018 tape, the Bengals could be getting a player who can do so much than a regular sixth-round pick.

On this first play, Texas A&M is in an eye formation and runs an inside zone run to the right. As Williams approaches the line of scrimmage his reads take him to the cut back. He executes a great jump-cut that quickly takes him to the backside B-gap. The reverse action by the wide receiver has held the edge player and Williams has a huge opening to run through.

After picking up a first down, three defenders converge on him. He lowers his shoulder and keeps his legs moving, powering forward for more yards. Smooth cutbacks like this allow Williams to get into open gaps quickly and take advantage of holes in the defense.

This is another example of Williams’ great vision and agility. As LSU shows in the front-side gap, Williams quickly cuts back, quickly gets running up field again. He drags one LSU defender behind him as he plows into another on his way to the touchdown. Good running backs are like water: they find the fastest way downhill. Williams has the vision to see his cutback, but also understands that he must start running north/south as quickly as possible.

Williams is not one of those speedy little backs who are always looking to bounce the run out or bend it back. On this run, he drives right into a pile of defenders on the goal line and has the strength and leverage to squeak out of the back end for the touchdown. Williams has surprising power for a back of his stature which shows up regularly on his film.

This is another great read and cut back. After he breaks free, Williams does a great job of leaning away from the pursuit. Then as a secondary player approaches him from the front, Williams cuts back to the inside causing the missed tackle. Being able to make moves like these in the open field is what turns long runs into touchdown runs.

Williams is considered one of the best pass blocking running backs in this year’s draft. Here he helps out the right guard with a chip block as he releases to the check down route. He then adjusts to the off-target pass, makes the catch, and is able to pick up a few more yards.

In this clip, Williams is responsible for the edge rusher to the top of the screen. He steps up, bends his knees, and delivers a blow that stops the defender in his tracks. Notice how he brings his hips through on contact. It is a similar movement to a hang clean. Williams may not be the biggest player on the field, but he understands how to use leverage to maximize his strength,

On this play, the Aggies are running a half man/half zone protection. The left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle all slide to the right. They are responsible for the defensive line and any blitzing linebackers or defensive backs on that side. The left tackle stays on the left side and is responsible for the defensive end who is standing up in this case.

This means Williams must read inside out to pick up any blitz on the left side. His first read is the inside linebacker to that side and his second is the defensive back lined up over the receiver at the top of the screen. When the inside linebacker comes, Williams steps up into the gap and cuts him. This was an excellent blitz pick up by Williams.

Williams has very natural hands. He seems to instinctively react to the ball, making great adjustments and catching with his hands, not his body. Here he is lined up as a receiver on the slip screen. The ball comes in high, but Williams gets up and extends his arms making a great catch. Unfortunately, he can’t get a block from the h-back and is tackled for a loss.

Here we see Williams on a tailback screen to the outside. Once again, the pass is off target, but Williams makes a one-handed snag to pull it in. A defender has broken quickly on the pass and reaches Williams just as he catches the ball. Williams does a little shake and takes off again, leaving the defender tackling a poof of Trayveon-Williams-shaped-smoke. He then bobs and weaves in and out of his downfield blocks and into the end zone. Williams is a serious threat with the ball in his hands.


Williams is a versatile talent in the backfield who will be an excellent complement to the Bengals offense. He is a talented runner who makes plays in the pass game and is excellent in pass protection. He may very likely challenge Giovani Bernard for his role in the offense in 2019.