Joe Williams – 2017’s Most Underrated Workhorse Back
In preparation for the RotoViz Radio 2017 NFL Draft series of podcasts, I was going through some different prospects trying to figure out which running backs had a successful combine. When I was perusing the data, one name jumped out at me for his combine measurables, and when I went and looked at his college statistics, the production also caught my eye. That guy is Utah’s Joe Williams.
Williams, in the words of Matthew Freedman, took a circuitous route to where he is today. Williams started out at Connecticut, then transferred to Junior College for his sophomore year, and finally to Utah for his final two years. However, after his first two games his senior year, he retired from football, then un-retired prior to the team’s seventh game against Oregon State, missing four games in the process. Prior to the Oregon State game, Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune reported:
Williams looked sluggish, lacking urgency. He had 75 yards in two games and fumbled twice, leading to a moment captured by television cameras against BYU: [Head Coach] Whittingham shouting at him on the sidelines, wondering where his head was at, before sending him to the bench.
However, upon his return, Williams ended up as a true workhorse for Utah in his senior year, and while there is still much left to be desired about Williams’ profile, he does have some traits that should transfer well to the NFL level.