Continuing my ongoing series about potential sleeper picks for the Dallas Cowboys “The Guys No One Is Talking about”, today I am profiling a running back.
With the question marks surrounding DeMarco Murrays’ durability there is a need for depth at the position. Given the Cowboys dire need for big bodies in the trenches on both sides of the ball, they can’t afford to draft a RB high, so they need to find a late round gem.
I had previously published this article, but I wanted to post it on the new site for those who didn’t get to see it the first time. I had profiled running back Kerwynn Williams while at SportDFW.
Kerwynn Williams, RB
Height/Weight: 5-8 196
School: Utah State | Conference: WAC
College Experience: Senior | Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Williams is currently projected to go in the 6th to 7th round which is perplexing because this guy can play. The main knock on him is his size. I studied him against several teams and was really impressed with his quickness. (4.3 Low 40 and 4.48 high 40). He was the 3rd fastest RB among the participants at the 2013 NFL Combine! It looks to me like he plays faster than that. It may just be because he is so shifty and has an elite ability to make tacklers miss in the open field. He has been a standout kick returner as well.
When I look for a running back, the first priority is durability. The fact that Williams has never missed a game due to injury speaks volumes as to how well he conditions his body. Williams uses his size to his advantage. He plays low and makes for a small target. With his quickness, rather than just trying to power his way up the field, he makes guys miss. The running backs who have that ability are less prone to injury than the Marian “The Barbarian” Barber type of back who attacked tacklers head on. That type of RB usually has a short career.
The second most important trait to me is a running backs ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Many scouts have Williams listed as a RB/slot receiver because he does such a superior job of getting open. He has really good hands and does an impeccable job of securing the football after the catch to avoid it popping out when he gets hit going across the middle.
The third trait I look for is awareness/vision. Williams runs with patience and then hits the hole with an astonishing burst. He also has the ability to read protections and can change direction on a dime in order to run to daylight. If he gets to the edge, forget about a LB running him down. He is the biggest threat when he is able to do that. With his Olympic like top end speed and magical ability to make DBs miss in the open field, you better have a speedy DB who is a solid open field tackler keeping an eye on him. If not, he will take it to the house. He had 15 rushing TDs and 5 as a receiver in 2012.
The 4th thing to consider is that your #2 or #3 RB needs to be able to contribute on special teams. Williams averaged over 1,000 yards per season as a kick returner. Again this speaks volumes to his value in a later round. With his elite speed and ability to make guys miss as a returner, he gives special teams coordinators fits in kick coverage.
The 5th requirement for a complete RB is his ability as a blocker. This is where I wouldn’t hold my breath with him. He is not a RB I would want to use in pass protection. He is a bit too small to sustain a block on a big pass rusher. He is good to use as a chipper and he has the ability to pick up a blitzer by hitting him low, but that’s about it. However, he may be able to build up his upper body strength and improve his blocking ability. Either way, I think he is a stud at running back and would be a great change of pace back to take some of the load off of Murray and I believe he is good enough to step in if Murray goes down again.
According to CBS Sports: Following a very similar career path as Arkansas running back Dennis Johnson, Williams has toiled in relative obscurity at Utah State despite establishing himself early on as one of the most electric returners in the country.
He led the WAC in kick return yardage (1,131) as a true freshman, ranking third in the country, but saw virtually no action at running back, rushing just twice for 10 yards. He saw his opportunity for playing time increase a season later with future Seattle Seahawk Robert Turbin going down with a knee injury.
While again leading the WAC as a returner (1,444 yds), Williams became more of a focal point of the offense, rushing for 451 yards on just 81 carries (5.6 ypc average) and catching 12 passes for another 110 yards. Williams averaged 170.2 all-purpose yards per game in 2010, which not only led the WAC but ranked sixth in the FBS.
Williams was similarly effective as a junior, recording 1,520 all-purpose yards, including a then-career-high 542 rushing yards while operating as a big-play threat alongside Turbin.
With Turbin heading off to the NFL in 2012, some worried how well the diminutive Williams would handle the lead back role. They needn’t have been concerned, as Williams took the WAC by storm, rushing for 1,512 yards and 15 touchdowns, including 235 yards and three scores in winning MVP honors against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
While emerging as USUs leading rusher, Williams remained the team’s top returner and proved a remarkably productive receiver, hauling in 45 passes for 697 yards and another five scores. He leaves Utah State as the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yardage with 6,928 a total that places him atop the all-time WAC list and ranks 11th in FBS history.
Blessed with great elusiveness, speed, vision and hands, Williams is perfectly suited to maintaining his game-breaking ways as a third down/return specialist role in the NFL. While perhaps not a household name, his production and versatility speaks for itself.
Personally I like this type of player and I believe he could prove to be quite an asset to the Dallas Cowboys. Especially because he is “A Guy No One Is Talking About”, making the late round value a steal. There is a chance that if he has a good showing in his workouts with teams his stock may go up, but if he is on the board in the 5th-6th round, Jerry Jones would be a fool not to draft this player. I hope you enjoy watching this guy run. I know I did. He is a real burner.
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