Scouting Report: Darrel Williams, RB

Can Williams be the guy to steal my heart and be the 3 down Runningback I have been looking for?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

If you have been to this website in the last year, you probably remember that I had what some might consider an unhealthy man crush on Kareem Hunt. I am totally fine with it, in fact, the fire still burns bright for him even though I am now surrounded by my friends who are Chiefs fans who love to rub it in that he is on their favorite team and not mine. Well, I am here to tell you today that for the first time since my love affair with Hunt started, I find my eyes wandering to another prospect. Now, there is always a special place in all of our hearts for our draft crushes, but I might be ready to move on. It only seems appropriate, that on Valentines day, that I express my love to my first draft crush of the 2018 class. Okay, maybe this is getting too creepy. In all seriousness, Williams is not a guy many are talking about because he just didn’t see much action, but when he did, oh boy, he flashed.

Name: Darrel Williams (#23)

School: LSU (Sr)

Height:5’11” (Senior Bowl)

Weight: 229 Lbs (Senior Bowl)



At his size, Williams has the potential to be a true three down back in the NFL, despite never having that role in college. He has a thick lower half, with powerful thighs to keep his legs moving through contact. He uses his size to his advantage, making defenders second guess trying to tackle him. He runs with good power and balance and shows the ability to fight for additional yards after contact. Williams has good vision and a nice jump cut to quickly identify and burst through the hole. He is reliable in the passing game, both as a pass protector and as a pass catcher. He shows natural hands on screens and simple flat routes. He uses his size when taking on defenders and shows good hand usage and technique when asked to stay in and block. He was named LSU offensive MVP this season despite not being the starter. Williams also had the best fumble rate of all the Runningbacks coming out this year, something the Patriots covet from their backs.

In this first clip, Williams quickly identifies where the hole is and bursts through without hesitation. It also shows Fred Warner, who I wrote up just a few days ago, with a nice stack/shed and wrap up tackle.

In this next clip, Williams again shows vision and then his ability to jump cut and get upfield. He also shows his lower leg drive, balance, and power to fight for additional yards.

Finally, I wanted to show you in the passing game. Again, he does not run a dynamic route or anything, but you do see him extend his arms and make a very natural catch with his hands and then quickly get his eyes upfield and become a runner again.


While Williams is good at everything you would ask of a three down back, he does not have any traits that are dynamic. He is a downhill runner that is not going to make a lot of defenders miss. He will get the yards that are blocked for him, and if he gets to the second level, he can create some missed tackles because of his power, but he does not have the stop/start or change of direction ability to create his own yardage when his blocking up front breaks down. He has good balance, but again, it is not an elite trait like Hunt showed on tape coming out of college and showed in KC. For a guy the size of Williams, he shouldn’t go down on first contact as often as he does. From a pass catching standpoint, the theme continues, he is good, even very good really, but routes must be simple and the ball needs to be on target. He is a little to stiff to expand his catch radius in order to help out his QB if need be.

I will be honest, I didn’t find a lot of negative plays to show you, but in this one, you see that the plays gets washed out and instead of using his size to plow forward to just get some positive yards, he tries to wait out the blocking. I would rather see my big back cut up and take the 1 yard gain instead of the 3 yard loss.


There are so many good Runningbacks in this class that a guy like Williams is going to fall through the crack and be a steal on Day 3. To me, he has Day 2 traits and will have a better NFL career than he did in college. From a Patriots perspective, he is a bit like Gillislee but can catch the ball and pass protect. He is a better runner between the Tackles as well. I think he would be an instant upgrade for the bigger back role in New England and he would pair nicely with a smaller back to continue the RB by committee approach that BB likes to employ. He has the potential to be a true bell cow in the NFL and I am excited to see him develop as a pro, hopefully in New England.



47 Responses to “Scouting Report: Darrel Williams, RB”

  1. Stephen J says:

    They are dropping like flies but here it is.

    Two CB’s in this draft were charged with Assault in 2015

    One I mentioned before being Mike Hughes from now UCF the other being MJ Stewart

  2. Russell says:

    My contact , say’s Tony Garcia has lost weight, not sure how much, more of a strength issue. His Weight room work is increasing, the past month.

  3. Stephen J says:

    This from Chris Trapasso

    For perspective on the length of South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard (who’s 6-2, 229)

    Arm Length: 34 1/8″
    Hand Size: 10 3/8″

    Rob Gronkowski

    Arm Length: 34 1/4″
    Hand Size: 10 3/4″

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Fear not Stephen, I am working on my report for Leonard right now. Lots of good Linebackers to be had in day 2 of the draft.

      • steve earle says:

        That’s been the impression I’ve been working under too Mike. A couple guys I’m interested in are Marcus Haynes and Siona Teuhema. Hope you can get around to those two at some point.

  4. Stephen J says:

    On Jan 8 2018 Draft Diamonds tweeted Buffalo Bills are extremely high on Josh Rosen and Kyle Lauletta

    Yesterday a report came out saying
    Bills Eyeing a Trade With Giants to Select Josh Rosen.

    Draft Diamonds then stated Lauletta is reportedly the dude they’d want if they can’t get Rosen.

  5. Russell says:

    free agent, QB David Fales 6’2″ 216 lbs. Last yr. in Miami, 29-43 69.1 % 6.3 yd. per pass. His College career, Two years; 938 att., 68%, 8.46 yds. per pass, 66 Td , 22 inter.
    The thought here may be Fales has some experience, at age 27 , over a rookie prospect, as #3 this yr.& back -up #2 next yr. Cost friendly 3 yr. deal ?
    The Patriots showed interest in Fales while on Chicago’s P-Squad.

    • Stephen J says:

      Here is the thing.

      The Patriots brought David Fales in for a workout with 2 other QB’s on Sept 8 2017 after trading Jacoby Brissett and Miami releasing David Fales on Sept 2. The Patriots had the opportunity to sign him on the practice squad as the #3 anytime up until the Dolphins signed him on Oct 24 a week before trading Jimmy G but didn’t. They seemed to have decided to go in another direction when they signed 24 year old QB Taylor Heinicke to the Practice Squad on Sept 23 2017 while David Fales was still available. Heinicke spent 2 weeks on the Practice Squad before being released. Fales was still available then but the Pats still didn’t sign him.
      Now the Pats have shown interest yes but how strong is that interest. It doesn’t appear to be real strong. Is it possible the Pats show interest again sure but how much is another story.

  6. Stephen J says:

    Richard Sherman no not what you think.

    Tweeted keep an eye out for my guy Blace Brown he’s gonna be an issue.
    So I said well Richard Sherman should know a thing or two about being a CB so I looked up Blace Brown of Troy he played 2 seasons and in those two seasons he had 11 Int’s. He is listed as 6’0″ but seen 5’11 1/4″ and 186 lbs. He is also a Red-shirt Jr. He is a former WR turned CB. Most famous for his interception against LSU.
    Outside of that I have to do more research and find out if he even declared to come out this year or is returning to Troy for another year.

  7. Stephen J says:

    Some things I came across today that were interesting tid bits of news.

    Did you know that Kyle Lauletta was sent to the ER during his trip to the Senior Bowl. Well apparently the 1st 3 days Sun-Tue he had a stomach virus. After his 1st team meeting on Sunday with the Tampa Bay Bucs he rushed to the rest room and threw up then was sent to the ER. Monday was the weigh ins in which he had to drag himself out of bed. Then Tues he practiced even though he felt like crap. By Wed he was feeling better. Then by Saturday he was fully recovered.

    While reading about this I stumbled across that his head coach at Richmond this past year was Russ Huesman. Russ Huesman was the Head Coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for eight years previously. You may go yeah so what. Well it just so happens that this past year the Patriots hired Demarcus Covington as their Linebackers Coach who came from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga one of the main reasons they were so adamant in their pursuit of Keionta Davis. So even though Covington wasn’t at Richmond with Huesman their is a relationship/connection to be able to glean information in their decision making process.

    While reading Benjamin Solak’s scouting report on Kyle Lauletta he mentioned Richmond typically ran the football inside of the 20–but! I am forced to wonder why a QB who can place the ball so well, and has such a quick release, was not given opportunities in the red zone, where those skills are even more valuable.

    In that article that mentioned Huesman it stated he had run a more quarterback run-based system in his former job at Chattanooga though he adapted some of it to allow Lauletta to take more deep shots and throw the ball over the middle more but kept the run aspect inside the 20.

    The the last tidbit from Huesman was this.

    “It would have been very easy for Kyle to go be a grad transfer somewhere else at a bigger place, He stayed because of his teammates and the University of Richmond. That’s a loyal kid right there. A lot of people wouldn’t have done it.”

  8. Russell says:

    Any Chance BB goes after free agent QB David Fales, age 27 ????

    • Stephen J says:

      Some things to consider with David Fales.

      He signed a 1 year contract last year worth 690K. Affordable Cheap.
      He had a prior relationship with Adam Gase from Chicago.
      Matt Moore the backup to Ryan Tannehill his contract expired and is a free agent.

      Then we have a back up in Brian Hoyer so Fales would be a 3rd string type player and if you look to develop him it will be at least 2 years by which time he will be 29 not ideal. Unless you are just looking for him to be a stop gap for this year until next years draft.

      In that case it could depend on the situation in Miami if Fales were elevated to a backup role instead of third string then he would probably stay there. If Miami goes another direction then it becomes a possibility unless another team see’s him as a backup type QB instead of a 3rd stringer.

      Then if he is a 3rd stringer wouldn’t you want to take a chance on someone from this draft who is younger that may surprise you in that role during the year here.

      Possibility sure
      Likelihood probably low but ___________(fill in the blank)

      • Russell says:

        Just a thought, knowing Fales would be ahead of any rookie, as far as developing goes. The Patriots had interest in Fales when he was in Chicago..

        • steve earle says:

          Realistically what do you feel is his high upside? Functional backup, decent starter, higher?

  9. Jeff Fid says:

    Great job & really like the vid’s for a visual of what we’re trying to get across on certain points.

  10. Stephen J says:

    OK Who do you like better

    1 Jeff Holland 6’2″ 249 lbs

    2017 27 Solo Tackles 13.0 TFL 10.0 Sacks 22 QBH’s 4 FF


    2 Hercules Mata’afa 6’2″ 252 lbs

    2017 31 Solo Tackles 22.5 TFL’s 10.5 Sacks 5 QBH’s 2 FF

    • Stephen J says:

      Another set of video clips of Hercules Mata’afa

      • Stephen J says:

        Check out the 2nd to last Gif where Hercules appears to have played off the line of scrimmage he actually played on the LOS but as soon as it was snapped popped up and dropped back as a middle lb scouted the QB than blasts up the middle. Since it seems that many of his plays come from the middle of the field would he be a better middle lb who can also play the edge like Hightower or is he more an OLB like Junior Galette

        Another thing I just noticed is with the plays that Evan Lazar used yes they are highly explosive(his speed off the line is not in question) but there is one thing I picked up on and that’s he pretty much had a free release off the line of scrimmage no one was really blocking him. Now is that due to his freakish get off or his ability to find holes/gaps ie he takes advantage of/identifies when teams are pulling for a running play which causes other teams to not really pick him up until its to late. A great example of that would be in the 2nd clip that Justis Mosqueda uses.

  11. J H TARBORO says:

    The Patriots need more draft picks in this draft, and need to stock up on players because of last year’s off-season and draft mistakes. Deflate gate took 1st rounder the year before. Last year we spent 6 million on RBs in Burkhead and Gillislee who gave us limited production. I know we need an OT, LB, DE, CB ( although the next Malcolm Butler may already be here) with some our future contract players. We need RBs and a slot receiver badly. I like Julien Edelman but need to upgrade the position, that would’ve helped Brandon Cooks and Gronk tremendously. We have 15 free agents and 6 players that are in cap jail. If I were the GM, they all could go! We need to make trade or trade down for picks.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree with most of what your saying. Who do you see as the next Butler that’s already here? About Edelman upgrade, we may need some youth but hard to upgrade on one of the best in the league.

      • J H TARBORO says:

        First, I would like to say hello Steve E. Julian is a great player, but with his age and 2 major foot injuries, he may not be the same player he was in the past. The Patriots kept 2 CBs and 2 other ENd from last year’s draft class that UDFAs that the Patriots raved about during the season, they may know something, that we don’t know.

        • Stephen J says:

          I stopped paying attention to who they rave about and practice squad awards to many times I hear them rave about someone on the practice squad and see them get awards just to be let go and never heard from again. So now I pay more attention to what they do. Meaning contract wise players they are interested in keeping the boost their salary to keep them around. Here is the salaries for the 2018 Practice Squad players that were recently signed.

          I know they like Trevor Reilly because they brought him back twice this year and promoted him to the 53 man roster.
          With that said they apparently like Will Tye as well since he has the same salary which is 68% higher than just about everyone else

        • J H TARBORO says:

          Hello Stephen J., The only practice squad player that I’m excited about is WR Riley McCarron, the gift that came from Texan coach Bill O’Brien at the end of pre season this year. Nicknamed The Iowa flash! 5’9 185lbs. 4.36 40yd. 40″ vert. and insane number for the 3 cone! I wish him the best for the season coming.

        • Stephen J says:

          Yes that’s my guy as well. I wrote about him last year before the draft and had him targeted as an undrafted free agent. Which can be seen/read here

          Once you pull up the page hit control f to pull up the find box and type in Riley McCarron and it will bring you to it about 3/4’s of the way down.

          Now as much as I like him and glad that he was resigned it appears that he isn’t a priority with the contract he has. That won’t stop me from rooting for him but it does tell me he’s done enough to earn another contract but his value tells me he could easily be cut if they find someone they like better. I’m thinking he is being brought along to be Edelman’s eventual replacement. Remember Edelman was drafted in the 7th and it took him 2 full years before he started making strides in the offense. It just so happens that this will be his 2nd year and Edelman’s last year under contract. Hmm. So here is hoping that will be the case for Riley as well.

        • steve earle says:

          Following along with the discussion I had hopes for McCarron as well, still do but not sure they well turn out well. Stephen J makes good point that Edelman took a couple years to start making any impact and that could hold true for McCarron too, who knows? But writing of Edelman is premature only those on the inside even have any idea. There is a couple day 3 guys out there we could consider for sure. Now I have to agree with Stephen about raves about ST guys. Every off season we here this guy or that “the coaches love” and I can’t remember a single one’s name. Just can’t.

  12. Mike Gerken says:

    Glad to see the video aspect is going over well. I hope that I can continue to use them as I think they add a nice layer of information, since we are all so visual anymore.

    • J H TARBORO says:

      Mike, I watched Darrel at the Senior Bowl, I liked what he had to offer, but he was slow getting thru holes at the Senior Bowl. If I were the GM for the Pats, I wouldn’t bring back Mike Gillislee, I would double up on RBs to pair with James White. I’ve been looking at pairings of RBs in this draft, and I know that New England doesn’t draft star players. The 2 RBs that would fit and would be great for the future of team Arizona’s Kalen Ballage 6’3″ 230 who will run under 4.5 in the 40yd.with great hands, stout as a pass blocker, can line up as a WR, and completely run over defenders. As a late round RB North Texas Jeffrey Wilson 6’0 195 He is an extremely good all around back with great vision, and the ability to get thru the trash. Take a look at both guys, I think you would like what you see. Detroit has them on their radar, screw Detroit!

      • Mike Gerken says:

        I think his lack of an explosive first step is the reason he will be a Day 3 back. He is a one gear runner, but that was the big knock on Hunt from last year as well. I think he runs with good vision and enough power/balance to be a guy who can average 4+ yards a carry and catch the ball when asked. I will take that all day from my mid to late picks.

        • J H TARBORO says:

          Mike, I still believe the Pats should get 2 backs in this draft, you can’t discount the RB position anymore, especially if your the Patriots, it’s been an integral part of our offense the past 3yrs. and it’s our aging QB’s best friend and protectors. Last year, we 2 backs 3mil. a piece for half a season of production. It’s an indictment on Ivan Fears, the Pats RB coach, if they can’t develop their own in house talent. This offense with the backs I proposed would be extremely dangerous and take a tremendous pressure off of TB12.

      • Stephen J says:

        I wouldn’t count on either Ballage or Wilson here is why. Their Fumble ratio is horrendous.

        As seen here

        Kalen Ballage fumble the ball once every 66.5 times he carried/rushed.

        Then I looked up Jeffrey Wilson stats and calculated them for his career he fumbled the ball 16 times with 11 of them being lost fumbles while he carried/rushed 562 times. That equates to once every 51.09 carries/rushes.

        That is one thing that carries over to the NFL that BB doesn’t put up with.

        • J H TARBORO says:

          Stephen J. I have to disagree! Advanced metrics on tell you half the story, for instance, Kareem Hunt never fumbled in college but in the NFL, in first game he did, who would have known. I have personally played the position, and for this I use the eye test and believe what I see. I also go to College Football film room and analyze the backs and their running style. They’re no perfect RBs, let alone or any other position.

        • Stephen J says:

          And guess how many he had this year in 272 carries/rushes. 1 So yes it does carry over.

        • Stephen J says:

          Here is a few more for you

          Joe Mixon fumbled the ball 1 in 73 times in college. This year he fumbled 3 times in 178 carries which equates to 1 in 59.33

          Dalvin Cook 1 in 64 times in college. This year 1 in 74 carries.

          D’Onta Foreman 1 in 74 times in college. This year 2 fumbles in 78 carries that’s 1 in 39.

          Samaje Perine 1 in 121 in college. This year 2 fumbles in 175 carries which 1 in 87.5

        • Mike Gerken says:

          To me, fumble rate is a deciding factor. When I have a group of guys that grade out similarly, this is one of the stats I go back to. I think it does carry over and I think it is something the Patriots put a high priority on.

      • kevin z says:

        Yea Pats huge on fumbling guessing Kerryon Johnson Justin Jackson John Kelly Chase Edmunds are on Patriots radar. didn’t see Ito smith rate like him as well along with Philip Lindsay.
        These players are based on there fumbling Rate along with style able catch the ball too.
        Obviously Williams in the report as well because his rate is outstanding

  13. Russell says:

    Thanks Mike, did not know much about this RB prospect. Wish BB would start signing players, but he seems to let them test the market. Solder’s Market value is around $13 mil. a yr. BB drafted two OT last yr. and one did not pan out, while the other is recovering from illness, to seemingly replace Solder. If BB signs Waddle?? and drafts an OT, they may let Solder walk and use the money saved paying Solder, to sign others.

    • steve earle says:

      As far as I know no new info on Garcia OT has come out. Have you heard anything from your contact Russell? We know he lost quite a bit of weight from whatever illness he had so wondering where stands?

      • Stephen J says:

        There is an unsubstantiated rumor going around that he is currently at/around 290 lbs and having a goal and expectation to be at 305 for June minicamps. Nothing confirmed as of yet.

  14. Stephen J says:


    Love what you did with the video’s good job.

    I don’t see him as Dion Lewis replacement but competition for Brandon Bolden. Williams didn’t have much production 321 carry’s for 1651 yards(5.14 yards/carry) rushing for his career even Brandon Bolden who went undrafted had 486 carry’s for 2597(5.34 yards/carry) yards for his career. As far as receiving goes Bolden had 76 receptions for 807 yards. Darrell Williams had 38 receptions for 462 yards. Both are of similar size as well Williams Senior Bowl measurements were 5′ 10″ 229 lbs while Bolden is listed as 5’11” 220 lbs on Pats website.
    I will be interested to see what his 3 cone time will be. BB loves RB’s to be under 7.0. Bolden ran 6.91 Blount ran a 6.85.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Thanks Stephen,
      In a perfect world, Lewis would stay for the right money. Then, Gillislee most likely gets cut to save some cap space and drafting a guy like Williams on Day 3 gives the Patriots a similar backfield to New Orleans. Having guys that are different phsically but can do similar things makes it difficult on defenses. Add in James White and its a three headed monster that can be defense specific in who they use.

  15. kevin z says:

    Thanks for the write up Mike! Didn’t know much about Williams. Sounds like a nice player.
    guessing depends on Lewis what Type a back pick in the draft.
    I was so focused on smaller Backs like Mark Walton Philip Lindsay type lost focus on the bigger backs.

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