One of the top running backs in Green Bay is Jamaal Williams. Drafted at 134th by the Green Bay Packers in round 4, he has carved a position in the backfield for the Packers. Williams is known as a powerful and bruising rusher. Typically, a runner from the backfield, he also can catch the ball out of the pocket and run for distance. With his build and height, he can gain leverage over tacklers and fight for extra yards. Due to this, he also has the threat of a punch-in goal line running back. Standing at 6 feet tall and weighing in at 201 lbs, Williams is in his sophomore year in the NFL this year.
High School and Hometown
Williams was born April 3rd, 1995 in Rialto California and grew up outside Los Angeles in Fontana California. He attended High school at Summit High School in Fontana, starring in their football program there. Leaving high school, he was choosing between Brigham Young University in Utah, or Boise State in Idaho. Williams chose BYU.
Jamaal Williams at Brigham Young University
After High school, Williams committed to college in the D-1 football program at Brigham Young University in Utah. During his career as the starting BYU running back, Williams rushed for a school record of 3,901 yards on 726 carries and 35 touchdowns over his four-year collegiate stay. Williams was the leading runner in the Cougars offense in all four of his seasons.
Stats and Stories at BYU
Set as an immediate starter in his freshman year, with 1,070 yards overall and a single touchdown, Williams made an impact. His junior year was unfortunately off track. He sustained a knee injury during the season and was suspended for multiple team code violations. That year, he also received an underage drinking citation. Despite this, he still led the team in yards on the ground that season. In 2016 he ran for 1,375 yards on 234 carries and 12 touchdowns. He also was honored as the MVP of the 2016 Poinsetta Bowl after rushing for 210 yards and a touchdown against Wyoming.
Leaving college, he built a reputation as a power runner. Although his long speed was lacking, he can shed tacklers and has an innate knack for staying on his feet. During his tenure at BYU, Williams only lost the ball a few times and was known for his ball safety. It was unsure if he would be a lead back coming out of college with a draft class shrouded by the likes of Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara also on the Running Back ballot. Williams was still selected in the draft and did not fall to the undrafted agent process.
NFL Combine and the 2017 NFL Draft
At the Combine, many of the drills he ran were middle of the pack results. Williams ran the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.59 seconds. His vertical jump recorded at 30 inches, and his broad jump recorded at 10 feet and 3 inches. His bench press reps recorded at 18 repetitions. His Wonderlic test, which assesses problem-solving skills, was recorded at 20, which is the average for a football player. A standout assessment at the combine was Williams’ massive 10-inch hands, which allow him to hang onto the ball during contact.
The NFL Draft
Before the NFL draft, the Chicago Bears were a major headliner of interest for the BYU product. They met with him after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. Despite the Bears’ interest, in the NFL draft, Jamaal Williams was selected by the head coach of the Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy as the 134th pick in the fourth round of choices. Green Bay chose him as the 13th running back selected. What really set him apart from the rest of the pack was the physicality of his play, with him being able to extend runs with his strength.
Rookie Year in the NFL
Jamaal Williams put up a great rookie season for Green Bay In his rookie year. Williams played in all 16 games in a rotational role at running back with Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones. He totaled 556 yards on the ground in 153 attempts. In the air, he brought in passes for 25 receptions and 262 yards. Four total touchdowns were recorded, and he did not drop a ball for a fumble the entire year.
Into the Spotlight
During, the first half of the year listed as the Number 3 running back for the Packers but finished the year as Green Bay’s top rusher. In Week 9 against the Lions, he scored his first career rushing touchdown in the league. In Week 10 in a game against Chicago, running backs Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery were both taken out of the game with injuries. Williams then took over as the lead back the second half of the game where he produced 67 yards in that half alone.
Through the End of 2017
A standout game in Jamaal Williams’ rookie season was his triumph against Tampa Bay in December. It was an overtime win for the Packers. This was a game in which Williams racked up 113 yards and a touchdown and rushed at an average of 5.4 yards per carry and added a pair of receptions for another 10 yards. His workload stayed consistent through the end of the year, carrying for over ten attempts in each game. A diligent player, Williams was penalized once the entire year for holding against New Orleans for a 10-yard penalty.
Second Year in the NFL
Mike McCarthy, the coach of the Green Bay Packers, mentioned in a press conference that Williams was ‘poised to have a big year.’ Joe Philbin, formerly the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and now the Offensive Coordinator of the Packers, also sung praise to his running back. Philbin admired the second year running back’s ability to run the ball both outside and inside. At the beginning of the season, the backfield stars were both Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.
Year Two Starter
The NFL suspended Jones for the first two games of the season by violating the league’s substance abuse police, and Williams slid into the top role. During the preseason, he was the starter for the first two games. In the second preseason game against Pittsburgh, he sustained an ankle injury. He was the expected starter and worries caused Green Bay to sign running backs LeShun Daniels and Bronson Hill. Starting the season with the Bears, they whittled the Packers’ backfield down to just Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Tra Carson.
Stats and Accolades of 2018
Week 1, he tallied 47 yards on 15 carries against, helping the Packers defeat the Bears 23-23. Pushing into Week 2, Williams recorded 16 carries for 59 yards and 3 catches for 12 yards, which has been the most yards he has taken this year so far. His role dropped when Aaron Jones returned to play on Week 3. This was a week in which Williams only rushed for 29 yards on 5 carries.
Carries This Year
Production has dipped for him since then, only recording double digit carries once against Buffalo in Week 4, a game that the Packers won at 22-0. This year, he is running at an average of 3.8 yards per carry and 7.7 yards per catch. The rest of the season looks promising for the young running back, with favorable matchups against the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions.
The Green Bay Packers sit at a record of 3-4-1 and is in the second half of the league in rushing. With a passing attack led by the legendary Aaron Rodgers, the Packers sit in the top ten of the league for their yards through the air. Green Bay has a talent they may lean on more to ignite their run game. Jamaal Williams is a relatively untested player in the NFL, logging only 24 games of professional play. His obvious successes in college may develop further as he builds his career.
Transitioning His Skills
Being the main rusher in BYU, Williams could battle through defenses and make a name for himself. Jamaal Willams is involved in the passing game because he can block for the quarter back or catch passes. Jamaal Williams has the unique ability to muscle through tacklers for extra yards. He is likened to Frank Gore and Matt Forte due to their tough and physical running styles. With the attributes available in a larger sized power runner, Green Bay may find success. Williams is still two years away from his rookie contract expiring, but he needs to prove to be valuable to the team his was drafted by.
High Hopes For The Class Of 2017
With backfields of his draft class turning out very successful years, like Kareem Hunt or Alvin Kamara, Williams needs to lean into his tough running style and churn out a career. Hunt, for example, dwarfed Williams’ rookie year- in rushing alone he totaled for 1,327 yards compared to Williams’ 556. Hunt was drafted one round ahead of him for the 86th pick to the Kansas City Chiefs. Jamaal Williams was a talented rusher in college at BYU and will find success at Green Bay if he continues to lean on the talents he has shown in the past