Ryan Williams Scouting Report, Virginia Tech Running Back



Ryan Williams has shown tremendous vision in his short career at VA Tech, and like Mark Ingram does an excellent job of setting up blocks and squeezing through holes, which I think is an important factor in the transition to the NFL game.


Though he hasn’t fumbled a lot in his college career has a tendency to be a little unsecure with the ball in his hands in the open field. He also doesn’t have great hands in the passing game, but has good hands. One thing Williams does well, even though not specifically related to “carrying” his churn his legs to pick up extra yards. He runs with a  very good pad-level and is tough to bring down.

Pass Game:

Williams has the potential to be very good in the passing game and does a good job of being a check-down option because once he gets the ball in his hands he can pick up some extra yardage because of his vision. He gets his eyes on the field well after catching the pass and getting north and south. However, he’s not a great route runner out of the backfield, and like most young backs isn’t the best pass blocker, but he has some natural abilities that could improve at the NFL with some good coaching.  Has a pretty good feel for where to sit in zone coverage.

Big Play Ability:

When healthy, is extremely quick and has a good size/speed ratio. Though he did not run well at the combine where he only posted a 4.55 40 yard dash which was almost a full  tenth of a second slower than expected. But that improved at his pro day where he ran a 4.45 40 yard dash which was closer to what was expected at the combine. Is very quick and pretty fast. Is not an elite home-run threat with his speed, but is good in the open field and is determined.


Williams was very productive two seasons ago, but battled hamstring injuries last year and was not very productive. Two years ago had 293 carries for 1655 yards, and 21 touchdowns. He also added in 16 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown.

Last season Williams had 110 carries for 477 yards 9 touchdowns, 10 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.


At the end of the college football season Williams was often sneaking into the end of the first round in many mock drafts. Since then he’s been pushed down into the mid second round generally and sometimes lower. I think come draft day Williams is likely to be drafted in the second round and one of the first three or four running backs taken (Mark Ingram, Mikel LeShoure and one “surprise back” that you always have account for teams liking more than the general population likes). Although, in Rick Gosselin’s first mock, Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech comes off the board in the first round to the Patriots at 28 overall, which i think would be justified. In my intial and personal big board rankings I had Williams as my #31 overall prospect, and he’s still right in that range, for me personally though are staff on a whole as him a little lower. This past season bothers me some, but I saw enough of his game this year to feel comftorable with him early in the draft. Ideally you’d love to snatch him up in the middle of the second round and watch him blossom (his impact could be like LeSean McCOy’s though they have different styles).

Final Word

Ryan Williams is a very nice running back in a class that is frankly underrated on the whole. I realize people do not love Ingram and Williams “dynamic ability” but they both have excellent field vision, can catch the football out of the backfield and run the ball inside and outsisde. Both players also do not have a history of coughing up a lot of fumbles, they can move piles and are both first round talents.

There aren’t any great speed options who are home run threats every time they touch the ball in this draft, but that doesn’t really matter. What’s more important for a running back is vision, patience, and agility. Williams is effective running inside and finding creases in the line to get into the second level. He runs with a good pad level. Williams also has soft hands and good enough speed to have his fair share of long touchdown runs.

Player Comparison: Joseph Addai

I had a hard time finding a great comparison for Williams at 5’9 with good bulk and excellent hops. (40 inch vertical), but Addai was the closes I could get, now Addai is better in the passing game than Williams is, but I think Williams can be that kind of all around good player that is productive from anywhere on the field. I really think Addai is criminally underrated and if he played on a team that give him more breathing room in the running game he could be near the tops in the league often. Still, behind the Colts line and their stretch-play run game Addai has been a very productive pro for the Colts, though he’s struggled with some injuries.

Other players I’ve seen him compared to are Cinton Portis (CBS Draft Scout), and DeAngelo Williams (just in different threads) if that helps anyone get a better view of Ryan Williams.

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