After selecting Ronald Darby and John Miller in the second and third rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft on Friday night, the Buffalo Bills selected Florida State running back Karlos Williams with their fifth-round pick. The selection of a running back may irk some fans, as Williams will join a crowded backfield that already features LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon, but like the Darby selection, this move was made with the future in mind. Jackson and Brown are in the final year of their respective contracts, and Williams is raw, yet talented prospect that has the potential to be a star if he cleans up some minor aspects of his game.
Coming out of high school, Williams was a consensus 5-star safety prospect and was a top 10 overall recruit. He moved from safety to running back one game into his junior season. Williams, who stands 6’1” and weighs 230-pounds has great straight-line speed (4.48 40-yard dash) for his size and excellent change-of-direction ability.
As an athlete, Williams compares favorably to running backs Todd Gurley, Boobie Dixon, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore and LeGarrette Blount.
In the following clip, Karlos’ shows the speed to get outside the tackles and turn up-field before lowering his shoulder and getting into the endzone.
This speed and acceleration is impressive for an athlete of Williams’ size, and Florida State maximized these traits to the fullest, as shown in this fake punt that he takes for a first down.
Karlos Williams isn’t just fast, but he’s powerful as well. He’ll fight through arm tackles and keep his legs moving through contact.
In the following play, Karlos’ blend of speed and power is put on full display, as he explodes through the gap, cuts back to make the first man miss in space before breaking eight tackles en route to a 47-yard gain.
Williams had the luxury of playing behind an offensive line that featured 4 future NFL draft picks, so he’ll need to learn how to press the hole and following his blocks. However, he displays decent vision and will run between the tackles.
His vision and ability to cut back when things are crowded is impressive, as shown by the following play against the Miami Hurricanes.
Karlos Williams is a talented athlete that will need some time to learn the subtleties of the running back position, having only played the position for under two years. However, he’s a big, powerful back with speed, quickness and a physical mentality to him that makes him a potential value pick for the future. He’ll likely see most of his early action on special teams, but could be the eventual replacement for Fred Jackson by next season if he develops as planned.