Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft starting on April 29th, we will be releasing several draft profiles of prospects who could potentially see themselves on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Next up…
Javonte Williams (Running Back) North Carolina, Junior
The Steelers have to fix the running game. Last season, the team’s rushing attack ranked last in the league. Team President Art Rooney II and GM Kevin Colbert have both stressed that the running game wasn’t good enough and needs improvement. Of course, the Steelers need to address the holes on the offensive line to aide in improving the running game, but they also need to add to the running back room at some point in the draft or in free agency. Especially, with James Conner hitting free agency this offseason. Williams could be a dominant runner in the NFL. He might not be getting as much love as a Travis Etienne or Najee Harris, but Williams has been just as effective and is trending up! Williams finished the 2020 season with 1,140 yards rushing on 157 carries for a 7.3 yard per carry average with 19 TDs. Williams also contributed in the pass attack for the Tar Heels, he finished with 25 receptions for 305 yards and 3 more TDs.
Williams measures in at 5’10”, 220 lbs. He could possibly go as high as early in the 2nd round right now, but he could shoot up draft boards if he tests well at North Carolina’s Pro Day on March 29th.
- Explosiveness and Bruising Running Style: Williams can beat you outside, but he’ll hit an open hole at what seems like 100mph
- Tremendous Vision: Finds holes quickly
- Extremely athletic for a 220 lb. runner
- Touchdown Machine: 21 TDs in 2020
- Ball Security: 3 fumbles on 416 carries. Protective over the football.
- Pass Blocking: Natural leverage because of his stature, consistent in picking up blitzes if asked to do so.
- Ability to Grow: Improved each year
- Contact Balance: Able to take on defenders and continue downfield. According to PFF.com, he broke their record for broken tackles per attempt at 0.48. Williams had 75 broken/missed tackles just in 2020, which led the nation.
- Never had to be a feature back
- Has the ability to run routes effectively, but his route tree is limited currently. He’ll need to expand his route tree, which is quite possible with his athleticism.
- Initial burst is mind blowing, but doesn’t have breakaway speed that other top backs may have.
- Hands need improvement, dropped a few contested passes
Check out some highlights from William’s 2020 season with the Tar Heels! His play style is extremely exciting to watch and may jump out to you as a “Pittsburgh Steeler type of back!”