As teams search to fill their needs at the running back position, they are often looking for the quintessential complete running back. A guy that is a dangerous runner, adept receiver, and most importantly, a sturdy pass protector. Finding those pass protectors can sometimes be the toughest task when scouting the running back position.
However, in the 2021 NFL Draft, there is no doubt that North Carolina running back Javonte Williams is among the best pass protectors in the class. Williams’ emphasis on balance of desire and technique in pass protection is what he believes makes him great there.
“You can want to, but not know how to, and then you can know how to, but not want to,” Williams said on pass protection. “Honestly it’s about being balanced, keeping your shoulders square, and having good technique. That all comes with being a pass protector. I feel like I am a great pass protector.”
As for how Williams keeps it up in pass protection on that desire side, he believes it is native to who he is as a competitor.
“I’d definitely say my competitive nature is the reason that I block the way I do,” Williams said.
Even with that, Williams has made strides in that area throughout his time in Chapel Hill. When he first came in, Williams knew it was a point of weakness and attacked it. That is what allowed him to gain consistency in pass protection throughout the entire 2020 season. Williams broke down what he did to improve in that area.
“I’d definitely say the big thing was watching more film,” Williams said. “Just knowing who to block, honestly that’ll slow the game down and make pass protection a lot easier.”
Williams is referring to identifying the most dangerous blitzer in any given pre-snap scheme. While technique and meeting the rusher are important, it is hard to be a great pass protector without having the mental wherewithal to identify the most dangerous man. However, Williams attacked another area as well.
“After knowing who to block, it all comes down to technique and using your hands,” Williams said. “So, after watching film more, the biggest thing I worked on was my technique.”
Thought of as one of the clear top three running backs in the class, Williams is creeping up boards even further. If he can have a strong pro day, it would not be a surprise to see Williams slip into the first round. Certainly, he has to be considered a sleeper for the Steelers at 24.