2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kyren Williams


The 2022 NFL Draft has a large crop of running backs that will have a role during their rookie seasons. While there are three main characters in Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker III, and Isaiah Spiller, there are plenty of others that will have an impact during their rookie campaigns. Kyren Williams was a player that many had as the next player after the big three running backs to come off the board.

Even with splitting time with Chris Tyree for the Fighting Irish, Williams has produced two-straight seasons with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and totaled 27 rushing touchdowns for the last two years. Unfortunately, just as the hype seemed to be taking off for the Notre Dame running back, it came to a screeching halt following a disappointing combine performance. While combine performances aren’t everything, it is part of the picture. So, with that said, the scouting report does feature some promising factors for the Notre Dame running back.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Kyren Williams
Jersey: No. 23
Position: Running Back
School: Notre Dame
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 194 lbs
Games Watched: Alabama (2020), Cincinnati (2021), Florida State (2021), Wisconsin (2021), Purdue (2021)

Major Injury History: None 


Player Breakdown

Vision (12.25/15)

Williams is technical in this regard. It isn’t quite Le’Veon Bell-like, but he can certainly be patient and wait for lanes to open up while manipulating the defense. There were plenty of times where the Notre Dame running back would start going to the right, only to see a wide gap on the left side while he’s still behind the offensive line deciphering where to go, and hit the open hole for a chunk gain. There are lapses in judgment where he chooses the wrong gap to run through, but that isn’t very often. Williams is good in this regard. 

Contact Balance (7.75/10)

He is aggressive with the ball in his hands. Williams isn’t afraid of putting his shoulder down and laying the boom on a defender to get extra yards. When he gets hit by a defender, Williams can easily stay on his feet and continue down the field. It takes defenders a surprising amount of muscle to bring him down. Unfortunately, when it seems that he has a wide-open gap to run through, Williams is sometimes brought down by a small hit by a front-line defender. 

Explosiveness (8/10)

Williams is quicker than fast, and it isn’t close. He can evade people in open space, and while he may not outrun a majority of defenders, he certainly is fast enough to break into open space. He is more sudden than fast, and he is a very entertaining runner when he has the ball in his hands. 

Long Speed (6.75/10)

The 40-yard dash time brings this grade down quite a bit. While Williams does show quicker game speed than his 40 time depicts, he certainly isn’t a track star. If Williams has an open field in front of him, he can break a long run, but don’t expect him to be dynamic enough to break off a 70 or 80-yard run because he doesn’t have enough straight-line speed to do so. 

Short-Area Burst (8.5/10)

Williams has quite a touch of burst, which is visible on tape. When he has a clearing in between blockers, he can shoot through the gap instantly and take off. With the ball in his hands, he can quickly move upfield when he has space. Williams is by far more quick than fast. 

Change of Direction (9.25/10)

Williams is a very slippery runner. If you aren’t paying attention at all times when you’re around him, Williams will make defenders miss in the open field. There were numerous times when the Notre Dame offensive line struggled against defensive lines, which resulted in the defensive line finding its way right into his face. Williams was able to bounce his run the opposite direction and fight for additional yardage. 

Power (5/10)

Since Williams weighs less than 200 pounds, it is no surprise that he has little to no power in his running game. On some occasions, Williams does give defenders a little pop upon first contact, while on other occasions, the Notre Dame running back gets steamrolled upon first contact. Williams will likely not be relying on his power very often at the next level. 

Ball Security (7/10)

A small discrepancy in his skillset is his fumbling issues. Williams totaled eight fumbles over the last two seasons, with half recovered by the opposing teams. With Williams being a small back, his fumbling issues could stop him from having an even bigger role in the NFL. 

Receiving Skills (9.5/10)

As a former receiver in high school, this doesn’t come as a surprise for Williams. In the last two years, he has caught 77 passes for 672 yards and three touchdowns. Williams is a consistent threat to receive check downs, whether from screens, flats, angle, or curl routes from the backfield. Not only can he be a factor out of the backfield, but Notre Dame consistently used him in the slot and on the outside. This section of his game will translate well to the next level and be a beneficial factor for his draft stock.

Blocking (5/5)

Williams may be the best blocking running back in the last few seasons. He is by no means scared to stick his neck out while blocking. Williams destroyed Leo Chenal, a potential day two selection, in the game against Wisconsin. He has consistently shown he can light up defenders in a hole and protect his quarterback as the last defense. When the Fighting Irish called quarterback sweeps, Williams was often the lead-man. Any offensive coordinator will love his tenacity for blocking, and it will keep him on the field on passing downs.

Player Summary

Following a disappointing combine, Williams could see his stock plummet and be selected on day three instead of potentially the second round. He is an elusive running back that carries a three-down skill set. Teams like the Titans, Dolphins, 49ers, Falcons, and Jets could be good fits for the former Notre Dame running back, who will have an immediate role during his rookie campaign. 

Rookie Projection: Second Man in a Committee

Third Year Projection: Starting Running Back 

Final Grade (79/100): Mid Third Round 

Player Comp: James Robinson 

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Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images


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