With the 15th pick in the fourth round (121 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected Utah running back Joe Williams. The 49ers traded a fourth-round pick (143) and fifth-round pick (161) to the Indianapolis Colts and received a fourth-round pick (121) to move up into this spot.

In August of 2013, Williams was suspended for credit card theft and illegal use. He decided to retire from football early in 2016, but following injuries to Utah's running backs, he returned and finished the year in the top 20 nationally with 1,420 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through nine games. During his second game back, a matchup against UCLA, Williams tallied 332 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 222 yards and a touchdown in a Foster Farms Bowl victory over Indiana.

NFL.com projected that Williams would be selected in rounds 6-7 of the NFL Draft.

Pro Football Focus stats to know: Williams' 22 runs of 15-plus yards were 10th-most in 2016 among draft-eligible running backs despite having the 20th-most rushing attempts.



Lance Zierlein of NFL Media, who compares Williams to Jerick McKinnon, had the following to say in his scouting report:

"Draft grade is affected by some of the character concerns that could preclude his NFL career from taking off. The more tape you watch, the more you become impressed with Williams' ability to keep runs alive that other running backs couldn't. His ability to create yardage for himself is a necessary piece of the puzzle for NFL runners, but his inability to contribute on third downs could hurt his draft stock. Williams has talent as a runner and could fit a roster spot if teams are okay with his background."

Pro Football Focus had the following to say in their draft analysis:

"As we saw at the combine, Williams is very quick and displays impressive athleticism. His speed is his greatest asset and he is a threat to score any time he can get into the open field. If he's paired with a very good offensive line and can get to the second level untouched more frequently, his quickness can turn those into huge runs. But he will not be able to overcome poor blocking as he cannot create at the first level on his own and won't be able to utilize his speed. His lack of experience in the passing game initially prevents him from being a third-down back, forcing him into a lesser role as only a change-of-pace back. Teams will also need to consider and Williams will have to have to answer questions about his mid-September retirement and commitment."

Measurables


Height: 5-11
Weight: 210 lbs.
Arm length: 30 3/4 inches
Hand length: 9 3/8 inches

NFL Scouting Combine


40-time: 4.41 seconds
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad jump: 125 inches
3-cone drill: 7.19 seconds
Bench press: 14 reps
20-yard shuttle: 4.19 seconds

College Statistics


Year G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds TD
2012 9 3 6 2.0 0 0 0 0
2015 10 104 477 4.6 3 11 84 0
2016 9 210 1,407 6.7 10 9 107 0
Totals 28 317 1,890 6.0 13 20 191 0


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