Running Back, Boston College
Projected Round: 3-4
The Falcons have plenty of needs to address in the draft this year, but one of the more underrated ones is the running back position. Both the offensive lines and defensive lines get the attention, and rightly so, but the Falcons need to get better in the backfield next year.
One player that is on their radar, especially after an impressive showing at the combine, is power back Andre Williams. An old-school, north-south runner from Boston College, Williams can immediately add a toughness to the Atlanta offense that has been glaringly missing any sort of edge the last few years.
Absolutely no factor in the passing game, Williams struggles mightily catching the ball out of the backfield. But, he did show above average physical skills at the combine. He ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash, a good time for a power back, and was fourth among running backs in the vertical jump with 38 inches and 3rd in the broad jump with 10’9″.
Williams is likely to be taken sometime around the third or fourth rounds. His lack of versatility definitely hurts him, but he is an elite between-the-tackles runner who was very productive in college, and that still counts for something in the NFL.
Why The Falcons Should Draft Him:
Atlanta needs to start looking to the future when it comes to the running back corps. Steven Jackson has one good year left in him at best, Jason Snelling is never the answer, and Jacquizz Rodgers has shown signs but is a third-down back, not an every down one.
The Falcons could draft Williams, especially if he drops to the fourth round, and groom him for a bigger role down the road. One day he and Rodgers could make a really good thunder/lighting pairing.
Why The Falcons Should Stay Away:
His impressive combine might actually hurt his value to a team like the Falcons. They need to upgrade the future prospects at running back, but they have bigger concerns for right now. Their first few picks need to go to the offensive and defensive lines, both of which need starting bodies right away.
If Williams’ combine results make him a third rounder instead of a fourth, or even fifth, round guy, then the Falcons should let him go and take care of the needs that are more pressing.